SEOUL, April 27 (Korea Bizwire) – A series of stories involving taxi drivers and convenience stores helping police in recent weeks is shedding light on how far collective efforts can go in improving community safety.
Last Tuesday, a man from Daegu contacted the police an hour after his 82-year-old mother, who suffers from dementia, went missing.
As soon as the Daegu Seongseo police station was notified, officers sent out a text message describing the appearance of the missing woman to 120 members of Seongseo Taxi Cop, a community watch group consisting of taxi drivers that helps local police forces prevent crime.
Around three hours later, the missing woman was returned to her family after being found by Gwon Hae-suk, a member of the group.
In a much larger initiative, the Korean National Police Agency yesterday signed a business agreement with BGF Retail to develop a hot line system with police that will see CU convenience stores serve roles similar to local police substations.
Earlier this month, the KNPA teamed up with CU, the largest convenience-store chain in South Korea, launching a program to install a touchscreen emergency system in every store by the end of the year, as part of efforts to ramp up security and prevent crime, amid a growing number of offences targeting convenience stores, which are often staffed by only one person.
“Going further than just shopping, convenience stores will become multi-purpose spaces serving public roles while contributing to the local community,” Lee Gun-jun, the vice president of BGF Retail said.
Last December, a clerk at a CU convenience store in North Gyeongsang Province was stabbed to death after asking a customer to pay for a plastic bag, and the lack of apology from the company caused an outcry among workers, prompting protests in front of the headquarters of BGF Retail, the parent company of CU convenience stores.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)