Armed robberies of stores rose sharply in December, with seven reported in Harrison and Jackson counties.
In comparison, the region had one store holdup in November and two in October, according to a Sun Herald review of crimes reported by police.
Gulfport had three of the armed.
“That doesn’t show me there’s an uptick in Gulfport, but the numbers Coastwide maybe,” Gulfport police Sgt. Joshua Bromen said.
There were two armed holdups in Biloxi — within 30 minutes of each other — and one each in D’Iberville, Harrison County and Pascagoula. A good Samaritan was stabbed in the Harrison County holdup.
Gulfport’s latest armed store robbery was Thursday night at the Dollar General on O’Neal Road off Mississippi 605. An armed robber also had held up that store in June.
Gunmen hit three Dollar General stores in the two counties in December, along with a gas station, a restaurant, an auto parts store and a cellphone store. All but one of the robberies were at night.
What makes stores like a Dollar General or gas station targets?
It could be a combination of reasons, Bromen said.
The stores are open late; they’re often uncrowded; and some are near an intersection, which allows for a quick getaway, he said. And they typically have the most cash on hand near closing.
“It’s a path of least resistance,” Bromen said, “but nobody’s going to get a ton of money in robbing a store these days.”
People rob for different reasons, including trying to feed a drug habit, to feed a family or because they’re desperate, he said.