New Mexico attempts to make convenience store surveillance mandatory
Working in a convenience store has long been regarded as the most dangerous retail job. Convenience stores are easy targets for petty thieves and other criminals, and late-night robberies are an accepted part of life for many of these workers.
Politicians in New Mexico introduced a proposal in 2004 which attempted to protect employees of convenience stores from the occupational hazards inherent to the job. Under these regulations, employers were required to provde the following to their employees if their stores were open past 11PM:
Have at least two cashiers working at any time
Keep no more than $50 in the cash registers
Protect employees behind a bulletproof plastic shield.
Now, legistlators are attempting to turn this proposal into law, with several new additions to the law, including lighting regulations, personal alarms for cashiers to wear, and the inclusion of video surviellance cameras.
Many business owners and associations in New Mexico are upset about the proposed ruling, claiming that the state does not have the power to put such regulations on the stores and work environments, and that most convenience stores have many of the proposed security requirements in place. Proponents argue that the potential for robbery and serious injury is a serious work hazard that should be covered by the employee and regulated to ensure safety.
Government-mandated surveillance cameras are a still a dicey subject in the United States. While traffic cameras and surveillance cameras are popping up more and more in public places, the legality of mandated private surveillance cameras in environments like convenience stores is still a hot debate point.
New Mexico already has the strictest regulations in the country regarding convenience store surveillance, and they will only become more strict if this legislation becomes law. What happens in this case is sure to have a ripple effect throughout the country, with regards to mandated surveillance and convenience store security as a whole.