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Columbia businesses increase safety measures after multiple robberies

Many businesses are increasing their safety measures after four armed robberies in north Columbia in less than a week.

Abc 17 talked to several businesses in the areas of the robberies to see what they are doing. Most of them, if not all, are taking the recent elevation in crime very seriously.

One business was also broken into Wednesday morning. An employee at Arena Liquor and Convenience Store on Rangeline said someone threw a big rock through their window while they were closed, stole money and got away. Columbia police confirmed that happened around 4:00 in the morning.

Some other businesses said they have put in place extra precautions because of the recent crime in the area.’

“We’ve been closing a little earlier,” Ashley Reed with Sun and Sea Tanning said. “We’re locking the doors after it’s dark, and then when we see the customer come up we typically just unlock the doors and we let them in just for our safety and for their safety that way nobody can just walk in on us.”

The salon also has a panic button which could call police immediately, Reed said. The tanning salon is only a few doors down from the Jimmy John’s that was robbed Sunday night. They purposely do not keep much cash on had, only about $20 to $30 at a time, Reed said.

But one of her concerns is poor lighting in the parking lot. She said she cannot even see her car through the windows from inside.

Also close to Jimmy John’s, employees at a bar and grill said they are installing panic buttons Thursday behind the bar for the safety of employees. They also said they have made sure all outside lighting is working properly.

A restaurant owner on Rangeline said he has cameras on the front door, back door, kitchen and cash register.

“Well we’ve been actually monitoring our doors closely,” La Siesta owner Francisco Guillen said. “We have cameras also just to be on the safe side. Of course, the best we can do is to just keep watching the door and see who’s coming. And then be aware.”

The staff at a restaurant next door said they have put in security cameras since they learned about the Jimmy John’s robbery.

Others said they have considered locking their front door after dark and only letting in customers who have made appointments.

And a manager at a restaurant that is open 24/7 also said they have had seminars with Columbia police officers in the past on what to do and what not to do in regards to robberies, but they have not had one the past few years.

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