PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – As police in two local cities search for gunmen who shot convenience store clerks this month, the CDC is stepping in with strategies to reduce workplace violence in gas stations and convenience stores.

On May 4, two masked men pulled up to a 7-Eleven in Suffolk, burst in with a gun drawn and shot the store clerk. Twenty-year-old Ketron Smith later died.

“As far as I can remember I think it’s been robbed either between eight or nine or ten times,” said Burton Chittum, who lives near the store.

Just a week later in Norfolk, someone shot and injured the clerk inside a 7-Eleven on West 26th Street. Police said another man outside the store was killed.

“My heart is very sad a part of my world is gone I no longer have my son here with me,” the victim’s mother told 10 On Your Side.

Early Tuesday morning, a 7-Eleven employee at a Chesapeake store was seriously injured after shots rang out in the parking lot.

Workers in the retail are at a higher risk of violence and homicide than in other industry according to this government report.

Convenience stores and gas stations are at greatest risk because they are often open 24 hours and workers may be alone and handle cash.

After a study of of convenience stores that implemented elements of crime prevention, here’s what the government recommends to prevent injuries and deaths from robberies.

Employers can:

  • Keep less cash on hand
  • Post signs saying workers have no access to the safe
  • Train employees on how to safely react to a robbery or violent attack
  • Make sure store windows are clear so police can see inside.
  • Clear exit pathways and make sure they are not and not blocked.

If you work in a gas station or convenient store:

  • Be alert
  • Know all exits, alarms and call buttons
  • Watch your demeanor

The report says you don’t want to be perceived as aggressive, as it might cause someone to get angry.

You can read more recommendations in the full report.