Hy-Vee Will Introduce Armed Security At Some Stores. Here's Why

Over the past few months, retailers have made a concerted effort to crack down on crime in their stores. NBC reports that more stores started taking greater security measures leading into the holidays in response to several high-profile robberies that occurred at the end of 2021. While some businesses have opted to lock up more merchandise to prevent theft, others have hired armed security guards to patrol shopping areas. Midwest grocery chain Hy-Vee is following suit by posting armed security teams throughout its stores.

According to a press release by the company, Hy-Vee has tasked an in-house team of security personnel to work at select stores — with plans to eventually expand the teams to more of its 285 locations in eight U.S. states. The announcement says that some of the officers have a background in law enforcement, and they have been trained to "defuse situations" and are "equipped to protect the safety of both Hy-Vee customers and employees."

What inspired Hy-Vee's new security measures?

While Hy-Vee's press release does not mention this, the grocery chain's new security measures may stem from the recent uptick in reported robberies. Hy-Vee vice president of security Jamie Sipes recently told KY3, "I think across the country, we're seeing an increase in thefts and different crimes in retail locations. So Hy-Vee made the decision to move forward with a forward facing security program that includes the tools that an officer would need to keep employees and customers safe." The chain's new security officers are armed with handguns and tasers. 

While high profile smash-and-grab robberies have caused alarm among retailers, the situation might not be as dire as some believe it to be, per the Los Angeles Times. Many of these publicized organized robberies happened in California, with retailers reporting a loss of $68.9 billion to theft across the state. This number seems massive, but most of the loss came from employee theft and routine shoplifting as opposed to large-scale robberies. In fact, experts found large-scale robbery to have decreased nationwide, and others have found that hiring a security detail doesn't do much to prevent theft but simply causes companies to spend more money. Time will tell if Hy-Vee's new security proves effective, but either way, get ready to see more armed security at this grocery chain in the coming weeks.