As crime rates fell in 2009, commercial robberies in the city rose, and the murder of a convenience store clerk the day after Christmas only served to increase fears among those behind the counter.

While some store employees have taken steps to protect themselves in the event of a stick-up, others are turning to time-honored traditions.

“Mostly I just pray to God that nothing happens,” said Terengo Argaw, manager of the Forest Hills Mart in Jamaica Plain. “It’s tough. You just don’t know [who might rob you].”

Rolando Figuoroa is prepared for anything while working day shifts at the One Stop Market down the block. Behind the counter, he keeps a machete. “Just in case,” Figuoroa said.


In the year he has run the store Figuoroa has not had any incidents, but Argaw and several others did in 2009, when commercial robberies ticked up 2.5 percent.

The most notable such heist came Dec. 26, when 39-year-old Surendra Dangol was gunned down inside a Tedeschi’s on Centre Street — even after complying with an alleged robber’s demands. “I’d be lying if I said there isn’t some concern,” said Dwayne Paisley, manager of the Quick Stop on Warren Street said.