“This is a natural reaction to some of the panic and frenzy we have been seeing,” said David Levenberg, president of Center Security Services, a retail security consulting firm. “Supplies are limited and the more people think they need to hoard toilet paper, the more likely it is that things will get out of control.”
“There needs to be some organization and a physical deterrent to aggressive behavior at these stores,” Levenberg said.
Some ShopRite stores are adding private security guards to help with crowd control or paying local police departments to direct traffic in crowded parking lots, according to a spokesperson.
Stop & Shop is adjusting its security to cover early morning hours for customers over the age of 60 and shoppers with weakened immune systems.
“Additional security guards have been added to a select number of stores that are seeing increased traffic,” said Jennifer Brogan, a spokesperson for Stop & Shop.
Some police departments around the country are stationing more cops in grocery stores as well.
“In addition to routine patrol, officers are also being directed to conduct additional patrols at schools, supermarkets, and hospitals to ensure the safety of everyone present at those locations,” said a spokesperson for the New York Police Department.
“So anyone that wants to prey on the elderly or those at risk [may] want to think twice,” she said.