Starbucks said it will provide its baristas with active shooting training as the coffee giant grapples with rising crime in big cities across the country.
It’s unclear what specific incident prompted the company to adopt the policy. The Post has sought comment from Starbucks.
Earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Seattle-based chain would close 16 of its restaurants: six in Seattle, another six in and around Los Angeles, two in Portland, Oregon, one in Philadelphia and one in Washington. . DC.
Each of those cities has seen an increase in crime since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Los Angeles has seen more people killed by firearms during the first six months of 2022 than during the same period in any of the last 15 years, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
In Washington, DC, there have already been 93 homicides compared to 82 in its first six months of 2021, or a jump of 13%.
The closures were prompted by employee complaints that the areas were becoming too dangerous as drug users used the chain’s restrooms, while customers and workers also reported instances of theft, assault and other crimes.
The company responded by giving store managers discretion to deny free access to store restrooms, which are open to the public per corporate policy, according to the Seattle Times.
Last month, Starbucks interim CEO Howard Schultz said the company was reconsidering its “open bathroom” policy due to growing public safety concerns.
The new security measures also include guidance for baristas on how to deal with an active shooter situation, as well as conflict reduction training, according to Fortune.
“You are seeing firsthand the challenges facing our communities: personal safety, racism, lack of access to health care, a growing mental health crisis, rising drug use and more,” said Debbie Stroud and Denise Nelson, US operations leaders, the company’s US based employees.
“With stores in thousands of communities across the country, we know that these challenges can, at times, play out within our stores as well. We read all the incident reports you submit, there are many.”
In April, a 23-year-old woman was arrested for fatally shooting her son’s 52-year-old grandmother at a Starbucks in Richardson, Texas.
Last year, a man was shot to death while sitting in his car at a Starbucks drive-thru in the Exposition Park section of Los Angeles.
Two of the stores in Seattle that are closing have unionized, while a restaurant in Portland has applied to unionize, according to the Journal.
Starbucks workers at more than 130 locations across the country have voted to unionize, while many others are in the process of doing so. There are more than 9,000 locations in North America.
Pro-union activists have accused the company of intentionally closing stores as a punitive measure to retaliate against organized labor.