Philly Cheesesteak Joint Hires Rifle-Toting Security Guards Amid City’s Rampant Crime

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One Philly cheesesteak restaurant is taking safety to the next level.

Jim’s West Steaks & Hoagies reopened earlier this month with a line of hungry customers circling the block. And with a surge in violent crime plaguing the City of Brotherly Love, the restaurant’s owners hired armed guards to keep customers and employees safe.

The cheesesteak joint is located in West Philadelphia, which — as we all know from The Fresh Prince — is up to no good.

“The violence has spiked,” co-owner Cortez Johnson told WPVI. “You want people to feel safe and be safe. So when they come out and eat, they don’t have to worry about no type of harm.” 

So Johnson promises to have the rifle-toting guards stationed outside the eatery during business hours each Thursday to Sunday.

Philly Cheesesteak Fans Can Rest Easy

The owners have hired a private security firm to keep watch over the popular restaurant.

“Our lines are down the block, so while you’re standing here in line, connecting with other people you may not know, we have security right here just to keep you guys safe,” Jim’s West’s chief financial officer Saul Landers said.

“If you want to secure your business and you want to make sure everyone is safe, you have to spend that extra money.”

Philly Cheesesteak Joint Hires Rifle-Toting Security Guards Amid City's Rampant Crime
A guard chats with customers outside Jim’s West. (Credit: WPVI)

But cheesesteak lovers need not worry: They don’t pay just anyone to stand outside with an AR-15.

Kevon Darden, the owner of Presidential Protection Services, said his company’s security guards all have military, police or law enforcement backgrounds.

“It’s not just myself. It’s usually other agents who are sworn and certified by the state of Pennsylvania to do security work when they’re off duty,” Darden told WPVI.

Homicides were down 20% in Philadelphia since last year. But that’s not saying much, given that the city saw its second-highest murder rate in history after 2021, according to police. And eight of those murders took place within a 10-block radius of Jim’s West Steaks & Hoagies, statistics showed.

But now, you can enjoy a delicious Philly cheesesteak without getting mugged, stabbed or shot. Now that’s customer service!

Written by Amber Harding

Amber is a Midwestern transplant living in Murfreesboro, TN. She spends most of her time taking pictures of her dog, explaining why real-life situations are exactly like "this one time on South Park," and being disappointed by the Tennessee Volunteers.

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