Coast police crackdown on shoplifters - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Coast police crackdown on shoplifters

SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) -

During one of the busiest seasons for retailers not every customer is paying for merchandise, some are getting a five finger discount. Law enforcement in the coast's three cities with major shopping centers shared their arrest numbers.

Starting from Black Friday November 27 until Tuesday, December 22 Biloxi Police Lt. Christopher DeBack said there were 24 shoplifting arrests in Biloxi which he said is down from last year.

Gulfport had 37 shoplifting arrests. Sgt. Damon McDaniel said that's a 35 percent reduction from last year. He added Gulfport police's efforts this year included plain clothes officers in the shopping areas.

Sgt. McDaniel said the department would, on occasion, leave personal items of value out to see who would try to take it. Two people were arrested as a result while, 19 good Samaritans turned the items of value into management or security.

McDaniel said Gulfport received close to 100 calls about shoplifting this holiday season.

In D'Iberville, Deputy Chief Clay Jones confirmed 39 shoplifting arrests have been made, which is up. Last year he said 22 shoplifting arrests were made.

Deputy Chief Jones said that's partly due to the department's hot spot policing grant. The grant allowed for the hiring of an officer who oversees shoplifting prevention.

All three of the cities police departments said they received more shoplifting reports than arrests made.

According to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention, there are approximately 27 million shoplifters in our nation today. Many shoplifters buy and steal merchandise during the same visit and men and women shoplift about equally as often. Shoplifting doesn't effect just the retailer, it ultimately costs consumers more for goods.

Should you witness a shoplifting unfold, McDaniel has some words of advice.

"Never chase down a shoplifter because you never know what type of person you will encounter. And never try to take matters into your own hands. Life and limb is much more precious.

Instead, he suggests you keep the suspect in view and notify management or security or police immediately.

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