A gas station owner in North Philadelphia is fed up with the rampant crime that’s been plaguing the city and threatening the safety of his business. Tired of feeling vulnerable, the owner, Neil Patel, took matters into his own hands and hired heavily armed private security to patrol his gas station, protecting himself and his customers.
Heavy criminal activity has been taking place outside and within Patel’s gas station recently. The owner reported that the ATM was stolen twice, drug sales have been taking place outside, and carjackings have grown frequent. He also reported significant vandalism and ransacking of his business.
To put an end to the crime, Patel hired state S.I.T.E agents, who have been patrolling the gas station dressed in Kevlar vests with AR-15s and shotguns.
A North Philly owner says he’s had enough violent crime at his gas station so he’s hired these guys to protect his customers and store.
Does this make you feel safer? Or uncomfortable. pic.twitter.com/ZOXvUxTvyW
— Jason Martinez (@JasonFox29) December 6, 2022
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“We are tired of this nonsense,” Patel told his local Fox outlet. “Robbery, drug trafficking, hanging around, gangs.”
Andre Boyer, Chief of S.I.T.E, explained the role of his private security company at Patel’s gas station, saying, “We’re Pennsylvania State Agents and we’re not security. Basically, what we do is security details when the public calls upon us when the police can’t be there.”
In a recent social media post, Boyer discussed the out-of-control state of crime in Philadelphia right now, stating that carjackings at Philadelphia gas stations “have increased by more than 300% this year and growing compared to 2021.”
As a whole, crime in Philadelphia has shot up by 23% since last year, and robberies alone have skyrocketed by 36.7%. Local police have reported not being able to keep up with the rampant crime plaguing the city.
“Citizens now realize Philadelphia law enforcement and city council leaders as well as the Mayor’s office just don’t have a clue or the answers to combat this growing ticking bomb that’s just increasing along with the shootings and homicides in Philadelphia,” Boyer wrote.
Regarding the recent addition of his agents at Patel’s gas station, Boyer said, “The first week, there was tension from the public seeing someone with an AR shotgun walking around.”
While some residents feel uneasy about agents with AR-15s patrolling the business, many support Patel’s decision to implement some law and order in the community.
One resident named Korrie Barry reported that she is supportive of Patel’s decision to bring in his own private security. Barry said that she is sympathetic to those who “live in a bad area” and want to be able to get gas without putting their personal safety at risk.
Another resident, however, expressed his discomfort with having an armed security detail at an establishment where children will be present.
Patel validates the concerns of those who disagree with his actions, yet he maintains that this is a necessary step to uphold the safety of his business. “I listen to them, but… violent people, they carry the guns,” reasoned Patel. “I fear for the safety of my employees.”