D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - With big box stores like Target, Kohl's and Best Buy, many would say D'Iberville is a prime shopping location for South Mississippians, but police say as traffic grows in the area, so does the amount of shoplifters.
"It's not so much that it's our major crime in the city, but it's becoming an increasing problem. We want to tackle it now before it gets any worse," said D'Iberville Deputy Police Chief Clay Jones.
According to Jones, there were more than 700 shopliftings in the past three years, and those are just the reported ones. Because of that high volume, the police department was able to receive a $113,000 grant to hire an officer who strictly investigates shoplifting.
"It's administered through the department of public safety, and it pays for a vehicle for the officer, Segway for the officer as well, all of the officer's equipment and his salary," said Jones.
Jones said they plan to introduce the officer to local merchants, like David Thompson, at an upcoming meeting.
"I'm interested to see what they say to give us ideas to prevent shoplifting. I think it's going to be a good meeting. We're looking forward to it," said Thompson.
Thompson, who is a part owner of Sportshack, says they have had their share of theft. He feels it is a bigger financial problem for them than for big box stores.
"That comes straight out of our pocket. When someone picks up a game like that, for example, or picks up a jersey and sneaks out with it, you know that's money we're out," said Thompson.
Thompson says he and his wife are looking forward to the meeting so they can learn more about how to prevent shoplifting.
The meeting is open to all D'Iberville merchants. It will be held at D'Iberville City Hall at 3 p.m. Wednesday.