Bill Flynn, 0ur founder and chief strategy officer, was interviewed as part of a study exploring retail safety and security for Winsight Grocery Business. We’re sharing an excerpt here. You can read the full report by following the link at the end.

As violent crime rises, improving employee training and store design can reduce the odds of trouble

“Don’t move.” That was the moment on an evening in 1978, midway through a shift, that Tom Hart, then employee at a Wilson Farms convenience store in Buffalo, N.Y., knew he was being robbed. That and the gun pointed at him.

“It didn’t seem real to me at first,” he says. He had been on the job for about three months. “I had never thought about getting robbed. It was never discussed. It was completely different back then.”

A second person came around the back counter and put a gun to Hart’s head. He told him to open the register. “There were around six or seven people in the store, and I remember looking across the counter at a woman with a young kid and thinking to myself, ‘OK, I’ve got to get through this as quickly as possible.’ That’s all I remember thinking,” Hart says.

Hart opened the drawer and triggered the silent alarm. “I took the money out of the register, gave it to them and they left. No one got hurt. The police came by very quickly. The person in the back didn’t even know it happened. But it was a harrowing experience,” he says.

A harrowing experience—and nowadays there are many. According to FBI data, there were 22,838 incidents of violent crime at U.S. convenience stores in 2021, double the number from 2017, and 3% of the nation’s total violent crimes. Gas stations, a separate FBI category, accounted for another 14,723 (nearly triple 2017’s numbers), and grocery stores 6,960.

The total for these three categories: 44,521 incidents of violent crime, 6% of the U.S. total, versus 20,348 five years earlier.

Read more about violence in grocery stores, conveniences stores, and gas stations, and hear from Bill Flynn about what retailers can do to combat crime.


With expertise including Run-Hide-Fight, situational awareness, active shooter training, conflict avoidance, and verbal de-escalation, The Power of Preparedness provides critical guidance for retail safety and security that can save lives. Contact us to learn more.