NEW YORK—Bodega owners gathered on the steps of City Hall Thursday to report that they feel unsafe in their stores. They called for the installation of security cameras in bodegas in areas deemed high-risk by the NYPD.
Miguel Cruz and his son were shot at their bodega in Brooklyn last week. In the last two months, 12 bodega owners have been killed—a frightening trend for the 13,000 bodega-owners citywide, said President of the Bodega Association of USA Ramon Murphy.
“Everyday the rent is skyrocketing, and if that is not bad enough, they [bodega owners] fear for their life. I know of no other [more] stressful living than being the owner of a grocery store or a bodega,” Murphy said.
Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez painted a picture of a bodega owner's life in these financially precarious times: Working 15 hours a day, seven days a week, the store is the owner's life, but he or she still finds it hard to make ends meet. Many of bodega owners can't afford their own security measures, so they have turned to the city for help.
In 2002, the NYPD started a pilot program called Safe Store. Security cameras were installed in 10 stores. Councilman Joel Rivera procured council funds for 50 additional stores. The pilot never expanded to other bodegas.