If you noticed a lot of dollar store robberies over the summer, you were onto something. Here in Macon, there was a string of armed robberies at stores like Family Dollar and Dollar Tree. But why would somebody target a dollar store?
"Potential offenders know that it’s more than likely that there’s not going to be a security guard," said Jeff Tarver, who is an assistant professor of criminal justice at Middle Georgia State University. "There’s only probably going to be maybe one, two, or three employees at one time so there’s not a lot of people in order to stop them from getting money."
Even though these types of stores don't typically have much cash, the lack of security tends to be a draw, he said.
"They know they’re not going to be getting a lot of money," Tarver said. "It’s just the convenience of being able to get in and get out quickly and have a couple dollars in your pocket."
Tarver said that a couple criminology theories might provide additional insight. The first is the strain theory, which occurs when someone feels societal pressure to meet certain accepted goals.
"I want to be able to have the things that I see other people have," he said. "And if I don’t have the means in order to attain those items, I might do whatever it takes in order to get there."
The second is called the labeling theory.
"What the labeling theory says is that once you label a certain group of people deviant, or as criminals, eventually they will, you know, take on that label," Tarver said.
But dollar store robberies are not unique to Macon. Similar crimes have occurred in Atlanta, Valdosta, and cities across the United States. Captain Shermaine Jones of the Bibb County Sheriff's Office said 15-18 of these robberies happened in Macon over this summer.
"What we found from our investigation is that it was a handful of people going to several different jurisdictions, so it made it seem larger than it really was," Jones said.
He said dollar store robberies in Macon have decreased since the summer.