CLEVELAND — Jennifer Davenport of Cleveland is too afraid to shop at the Family Dollar store on Buckeye Road, even though she live less than a quarter-mile from the store. Two Cleveland police calls for robberies-in-progress to the store on Dec. 10 and Dec. 15 have her worried about Buckeye neighborhood safety.
"No I won't shop at that store," Davenport said. “I’d rather catch the bus and go somewhere else, or drive somewhere else.”
East 128 Street Block Club President Rob Render told News 5 this is far from the first time the store has suffered multiple robberies and robbery attempt in a short period of time. Render believes Family Dollar, and other inner-city dollar stores, need to make a stronger commitment to safety and offer a wider variety of products to the communities they serve.
“The violence in unparalleled, what it does is give Buckeye a black eye, we’ve been on the bubble for a while," Render said. “This is about exploitation of neighborhoods. Disproportionately you find in low income neighborhoods, the poor neighborhoods, the neighborhoods of color, these kind of facilities and low end products.”
“If anything they need an off-duty Cleveland police officer, and they’re not going to do that, they don’t care," Render added.
Cleveland police are searching for two teens who conducted an armed robbery at the store on Dec. 10. Police believe the two suspects, who also ransacked the store live in the Buckeye Road, East 130 Street neighborhood.
Anyone with information about the robbery is being asked to contact the Cleveland Police Fourth District Detective Bureau at 216-623-5414, or email Det. Wohl at SWhol@clevelandohio.gov with your tips.
You can remain anonymous when calling in your information.
Family Dollar headquarters responded immediately to News 5 and issued the following short statement about the robbery and its security protocol:
Family Dollar prioritizes safety and continually reviews our locations for opportunities to enhance security. Given the ongoing investigation, that is what we can share.
Buckeye, Shaker Square community leader Jay Westbrook believes Family Dollar needs to become a better community steward, take better care of property maintenance and continue to improve store security.
"These continual robberies, it’s an attack on the whole neighborhood," Westbrook said. “They have a junky appearance, they act like anything goes. If you just look around the perimeter you can see the trashy nature of their property.”
Westbrook believes there are too many dollars stores in Cleveland, especially on the east side, and he agreed with the cities attempt in 2019 to impose legislation that would limit new dollar store construction.
Meanwhile, Davenport has a very simple message for Family Dollar, and Dollar Tree Inc. corporate headquarters.
“Oh do better, for your community, for your workers," Davenport said. "Just do better.”