A Philadelphia gas station owner frustrated with rampant crime has employed armed guards to protect his business and customers.
Weeks after Neil Patel hired the services of Pennsylvania S.I.T.E. State Agents, a private company, agents armed with long guns wearing tactical gear patrolling the KARCO gas station at Broad and Clearfield streets have become a regular sight, according to local reports.
The security measure is a necessary one, Patel says, because police do not respond quickly enough while crimes such as shootings, shoplifting, and the theft of an ATM are a constant threat. Even his car was vandalized.
A North Philly owner says he’s had enough violent crime at his gas station so he’s hired these guys to protect his customers and store.
Does this make you feel safer? Or uncomfortable. pic.twitter.com/ZOXvUxTvyW
— Jason Martinez (@JasonFox29) December 6, 2022
“They are forcing us to hire the security, high-level security, state level,” Patel told FOX 29. “We are tired of this nonsense; robbery, drug trafficking, hanging around, gangs.”
Andre Boyer, chief of the PA State Agents, said his team is well-trained.
“We wear Kevlar, we are trained, my guards go to training every other week, they’re proficient with [their guns] and with their taser, they know the law,” he told the news outlet.
Gas station crimes, particularly robbery with guns and carjackings, have risen in the city over the past few years, police data gathered by The Philadelphia Inquirer show. Patel says crime at his business has been down since hiring the armed guards.
⚠️My story last night: this is what things have come to for one North Philly gas station…armed security guards in tactical gear to keep customers safe ⚠️@NBCPhiladelphia #Philadelphia #crime #news #report pic.twitter.com/h0Ij4Edt1u
— Johnny Archer (@JohnnyNBC10) December 3, 2022
Residents and customers have mixed feelings about the added security measure, but those who support the move said it makes them feel safe.
“To be honest, it’s a good thing and it’s a bad thing. But I’d rather us be safe than sorry,” one man told NBC10 Philadelphia.
“I have my license to carry, I’m always ready to go for myself, so it’s like whatever … It’s nice and safe for me. I get my juice, go to my car without somebody else jumping in it,” customer Jack Rock told 6 ABC.