Tuesday, August 30, 2011

You’d Be Surprised How Much Shoplifters Can Steal

There is a bit over at the Dallas Morning News Crime Blog about Denton, TX Police busting an organized shoplifting ring. What makes this unusual is the fact that police recovered about $300,000 worth of stolen property from the residences. From the story:
"Let's say I'm a fence. I hire you to go out, steal the stuff that I requested and then come back to me and sell the stuff to me," Grelle said.

He said the fences would then go to a local flea market and sell the items, which were taken from Dollar Generals and Tom Thumbs, among other stores.
In addition to the economic loss to the store due to shoplifting, there are also costs to police agencies in responding to shoplifters. I recently did a study at my agency of the average time it takes an officer to complete a shoplifting call and found that the average time spent on the call was one hour. It doesn’t take too many shoplifting calls to tie up a significant amount of a police officer’s workday. This time spent on a relatively minor call takes away time that the officer can spend on other crime reduction activities.

The Center For Problem Oriented Policing has a POP Guide that covers shoplifting and offers some responses that could help your agency to get a handle on these types of crimes in your jurisdiction.

In the sleepy little burg where I work, we are trying to streamline the process of handling shoplifting calls so our officers spend less time stuck in the Super Big Box store’s Loss Prevention Office and more time out catching other bad guys.

What has your agency done to reduce the numbers of shoplifters plaguing your community’s businesses?

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