D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - In D'Iberville, police and businesses are using technology to crack down on shoplifting. A simple app on a phone has turned into a valuable tool to fight crime.
Deputy Police Chief Clay Jones introduced us to an app called Groupme on his smart phone.
"This merchant saw a suspicious person in the store. They saw that person in the parking lot and called another store. It's a heads-up that this person possibly stole from the store. So, you might want to keep an eye on them," said Jones.
The app is being used by police in an effort to catch and arrest shoplifters.
D'Iberville police discovered the app was already being used by businesses, and they figured it would be a great idea to form a partnership.
"In one of our meetings with merchants, they said they used the group app at our stores along the Coast. We decided to try it. It works wonderfully," said Jones.
It's estimated that retailers lose billions of dollars each year to shoplifting.
CVS shift manager Christy McCauley is sold on the app, and she has seen results.
"I think it's a wonderful tool. Every business should be on it. We can all communicate as a city. We can combat crime, shoplifting, burglary, anything," McCauley said.
D'Iberville applied for a federal grant to kick off the project. Businesses text one another and police see it all on the Groupme app.
For people who fear that criminals can get into the app, the fact is it's a closed group.
"You have to be invited. You have to be a member at a business," said McCauley.
Jones said several arrests have been made as a direct result of the effectiveness of the app.