The owner of a recently reopened Philadelphia cheesesteak establishment has taken the step of employing armed security guards to ensure the safety of its patrons and staff as Philadelphia grapples with a persistent crime wave.
“What we have become accustomed to in society is to react to issues once they happen. It’s too late. One incident where someone is severely hurt or even passes away from me is not acceptable,” Victoria Wylie, co-owner of Jim’s West Steaks & Hoagies, said.
“We’re thinking about preventing violence and crime from happening versus reacting to violence and crime happening. We did it as a deterrent and a precautionary measure to really just say that we are thinking about all possible situations that could happen, and we want customers to know that safety is really important to us,” Wylie added.
Recent data from the Philadelphia Police Department reveals that the city has witnessed over 500 homicides in the past two years. Moreover, the overall crime rate has surged by nearly 16% year-to-date.
“When I think about Philadelphia and the community which we serve, the West Philadelphia area, crime there is still very prevalent. So being someone who is reopening a business that’s really popular, that people have been waiting for, we don’t know who’s coming,” Wylie said.
“We wanted to be proactive. One of the proactive measures we took was making sure there was security in place,” she continued.
A video posted on the restaurant’s Instagram account showcased a security guard, armed with an assault-style rifle, stationed outside Jim’s West Steaks & Hoagies on its reopening day, September 9. Wylie confirmed to Fox News that these guards, tasked with ensuring the safety of customers, will be present daily during operational hours.
“We did this because we want to protect our consumers. We want to protect our employees, and of course, we want our business to be safe,” Wylie said.
Historical data indicates that under its previous ownership, armed criminals had stolen $215 from the cash register and patrons of Jim’s Steaks in 2015.
“We don’t want that to happen to our business. These were some of the factors that contributed to why armed security was decided on in this ownership,” Wylie said.
The city recorded nearly 70,000 property crimes in 2022, marking a 30% increase from the previous year. Although armed robberies have seen a decline of nearly 13%, they remain elevated compared to pre-pandemic figures.
In a related incident, groups of thieves targeted and plundered multiple businesses across Philadelphia in September. This led to the temporary closure of nearly 20 state-run liquor stores.
For Patriot Pharmacy, a store that was looted in September, it marked the third such incident in three years. “When looters steal from us, what they don’t seem to understand is that they are also stealing from our neighbors,” Benjamin Nochum, the store manager, said.
Wylie remains determined not to let the city’s crime deter her clientele. “We do this to deter that type of stuff from the beginning. We want people to know their safety is our priority while giving people the delicious cheesesteaks that they love,” Wylie said.
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