City of Mesquite wants to cut down on new convenience stores in effort to combat crime

The city of Mesquite is coming up with a plan to cut down its violent crime rate.

One of the ways city leaders hope to do so is by cutting down on new convenience stores.

The Mayor of Mesquite has instructed the Police Department to put together an aggressive plan for tackling crime. A part of the city’s initiative could lead to not allowing any more convenience stores in city limits.

Sohan Lal will never forget the night of September 12, 2018, when he was shot during an attempted robbery at his Dairy Mart convenience store in Mesquite.

“Two guys came inside.” He recalled. “And one guy threw a bag at me and said, ‘Hey, give me all your money.’”

After a gun was pointed at his Lal was shot in the hand.

“Gun was right there. I had to pull it away. I grabbed it and he fired from there,” he recalled. “Whenever I’m by myself, I have to think about, ‘lock everything up.’”

“We must make it clear to every criminal, local or from other areas, that we are going to more than ever before make it very uncomfortable to commit crime or cause problems in Mesquite,” Archer said.

Next week, the city council will decide whether to hold a hearing on a plan to halt applications and plans for new convenience stores.

“I have visited with 7-11 clerks and E-Z Mart clerks and Whataburger employees who have been robbed at gunpoint. No one should ever have to experience that,” Archer said. “Many years ago as a CiCi’s manager, I had a gun put to my face and I was robbed. It was a traumatic experience.”

Mesquite police said robberies rose in 2019 compared to the previous year. Thefts were also up year-to-year.

But some feel the city’s plan would punish businesses and customers.

“Sounds pretty unfair and a bit irrational to be honest,” said resident Phillip Johnson. “It seems like a pretty broad statement. Yeah, convenience stores might have crime, but apartment complexes do too.”

The city’s plan wouldn’t remove any existing stores like Lal’s store. He says he’s open to the idea and understands it’s a risky business.

“People need to think about safety first before they get any financial business,” he said. “They can kill you over $100. $10. They don’t care.”

If the resolution passes, the city of Mesquite will host a public hearing on Jan. 28.