ATLANTA — Metro Atlanta business owners are having to add a new budget item they didn't expect. With an increase in crime near businesses, owners are beefing up their security.
“I’ve noticed the crime is happening more since COVID and the crooks are getting younger and younger,” said Kisha Cameron, owner of a Subway in the Sandtown community.
The business owner said about three weeks ago, a group of teens attempted to carjack a customer while his son was in the backseat.
“He was like, 'daddy, daddy they have a gun, they have a gun' and we immediately took action. I came from behind the counter and we locked the door.”
The incident happened at 8:30 a.m. when teens would typically be in school. Police later arrested them.
Cameron said she had mixed feelings about the arrest.
“I’m glad they caught the guys but I also feel for the young people who got arrested. I feel for the parents and for us, business owners in this community,” she added.
The carjacking incident is just one reason why she's had to eat the cost of extra security measures. She has added more cameras and adjusted her business hours to close earlier which takes away profit.
Tiffani Baskett, who owns The Fitness Collective, has also felt the cost of security for the first time.
Baskett opened her business to be a place of solace for those who needed it.
“My customers come in here, release that pressure and block out the rest of the world. You can’t do that if you don’t feel safe,” said Baskett.
Baskett wasn't a victim of a crime but added more security as a precaution. So far, her team has increased the number of new cameras and extra security officers at every turn and for special events.
“We’ll have private security which is not something I thought about before," she added.
The measures have cost business owners around the metro thousands of unexpected dollars.
Wanda Turner, owner of Class Act Security Protection said she's been getting calls from businesses that would not typically warrant security services.
“Some of them want to be proactive because they’re hearing about a lot of the issues that some of the organizations and other businesses are having," Turner said.
Turner said business owners have seen an increase in theft and heated disturbances.
The security company owner also said it's important for customers to have situational awareness while they are shopping and dining. She expressed criminals are not just targeting businesses, but the people around them.