D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - D'Iberville Police Deputy Chief Clay Jones says shoplifting is a serious issue in the city. Thanks to a hot spot policing grant, they now have an officer who will oversee shoplifting prevention.
A D'Iberville police officer has been assigned to strictly patrol shopping areas to prevent and apprehend shoplifters. Merchants seem to be very happy with the announcement.
"We will definitely benefit from this with as much theft is going on in the community," said Eva Stockstill, who is a manager at Academy Sports.
More than 10 different D'Iberville businesses were represented at the quarterly merchant's meeting. From local boutique owners to Walmart managers, everyone in the crowd was excited to hear from Officer Terry Joiner.
"I enjoyed the turn out and the questions that were asked. I really appreciated them, and I think we're going to have a good working relationship with the merchants," said Joiner.
Joiner is the new officer who has been assigned to combat the city's serious problem with shoplifting.
"I mean, it's almost going to connect everyone. It's going to let us know what's going on to help each other," said Carla Parsons, who is the asset protection manager at Walmart in D'Iberville.
Thanks to a more than $300,000 grant, the D'Iberville Police Department was able to pay for an officer's salary who could just focus on this issue, and it provided a few toys to go along with the job.
"With the SUV that was purchased with the grant, with the Segway that was purchased with the grant, it puts us out there more visible to where they know that SUV or Segway is there strictly for the prevention of any types of crimes in our retail center," said Joiner.
Joiner says his position is about more than just apprehending shoplifters.
"10 o'clock at night, when the stores are closing, we want those employees to be able to walk out to their cars at night and feel safe walking out there," said Joiner.
Joiner also mentioned having all of the merchants download an app that would allow them to communicate in a group text message so they would immediately know when other stores were hit by shoplifters.