SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - It's the busiest time of the year for retail sales. It's also one of the busiest times for retail theft. Although some businesses can't afford private security guards, they have a plan.
April Bullock, owner of Ivy Boutique in the Promenade, has learned to work within her means when it comes to security.
Her small D'Iberville fashion store was burglarized just a little over a year ago. While she doesn't have the security of a big box store, she knows how to fight.
"We never have anyone open by themselves or close by themselves, because their safety is our top priority," Bullock said.
She has hidden security cameras, and she knows how to use social media as well as good old networking to protect her product.
"On Black Friday, there was a guy hitting a ton of boutiques around here, so as soon as one person found out, we started calling all the other boutiques, like, be on the lookout for this guy," explained Bullock.
Heidi Necaise, manager of Kirkland's for 14 years, also uses networking from other stores in the shopping center. In addition, she works with scheduling and strategic placement of employees throughout the store.
Business owners and managers say one of the best defenses against shoplifting is customer service.
"We approach every customer in here as if they are here to shop, not to steal," Necaise said. "So that's the approach we go with, and it helps."
D'Iberville Police Chief Wayne Payne said his department has a great working relationship with merchants and private security firms.
What is his biggest piece of advice for any business?
"Be observant," Payne said. "If you've got somebody acting suspicious in your store or if you think they're acting suspicious, pick up the phone and call us, and we'll respond. It may be a mistake, but again, it maybe something else."