More businesses forced to go ‘cashless’ due to robberies, skyrocketing crime
Many small businesses are being forced to go “cashless” after a string of robberies that have left them with thousands of dollars swiped by criminals.
Santa Fe’s Rowley Farmhouse Ales was robbed on November 8 of over $2,000 and a safe that costs about $1,000.
“They ripped out our safe and about two grand. Plus the safe cost about a grand,” co-owner Jeffrey Kaplan told the Santa Fe New Mexican. This was the second time the establishment has been robbed, the first robbery also netting the criminals about $2,000. Now, the taproom is forced to go cashless.
The criminals know restaurants have money,” Kaplan said, adding, “We said, ‘Let’s make this less of a target.’ ”
Albuquerque’s Burritos Alinstante restaurants are also cashless now due to crime.
The New Mexican reported, “The reason? Too many robberies where people with guns and wrenches and other weapons or tools came into the restaurants threatening employees and demanding cash,” according to Mary Ellen Chavez, who runs the restaurant chain.
“We had been robbed six or seven times in one of our stores in a very short period of time — six or eight weeks — and my employees were terrified,” Chavez said. “We were trying to figure out how to keep them safe and keep them going [to work]. And our solution helped everyone in that location feel a whole lot better.”
The move results in restaurants and other establishments having to pay three to four percent per transaction to credit card companies. But according to Chavez, after the implementation of the cashless policy, there haven’t been any burglaries as of yet.
Carol Wight of the New Mexico Restaurant Association told the New Mexican that restaurants “are very concerned for their employees and staff, and they don’t want them handling cash and being vulnerable to burglaries,” adding, “We’ve had people held up and shot at gunpoint in restaurants. … You put somebody at risk every time you take money out of the safe and send it to the bank; you put them at risk just by having it on the premises.”
New Mexico has the second-highest violent crime rate in the entire nation, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s statistics. In 2021, for every 100,000 New Mexicans, law enforcement reported 2,189 crimes against persons or affecting 2.92% of the population. The only state with worse overall crime was Arkansas, with 2,276 crimes per 100,000 people.