The Square Alliance met this morning to discuss ways to combat the increase in shoplifting in the hub of Oxford’s shopping. Business owners had a Q&A with OPD investigator Chris Case about how to prevent shoplifting and deal with those who are caught in the act.
Case provided tips in shoplifting prevention such as a more visible security system, keeping an eye out for suspicious activity and more. Business owners voiced their opinions and discussed certain tricks and trends that they’ve noticed shoplifters using to attempt to steal merchandise. Case mentioned that shoplifters will usually work in pairs rather than alone to attempt to distract workers while they commit the crime.
A heavy importance was placed on figuring out how to deal with shoplifters when they are caught in the act to find the balance of ensuring security but not overstepping the boundaries. Businesses and workers have the ability to recover stolen merchandise and keep the violator in the store until the authorities arrive, as long as they have probable cause. It is also unlawful to lock them in a small space such as a closet or use force.
If unable to catch them before leaving the premise, owners were told to attempt to get a photo of the person, use surveillance footage, or a license plate number if they were to get in a vehicle. East urged the owners to get as much information as they can so they provide a detailed report and increase the chance of apprehending the suspect.
Mark Huelse mentioned that shoplifters need to be aware of potential consequences for their actions, and these meetings will ensure that.
“I think it’s key that [shoplifters] know that we had a meeting like this, and that we are willing to prosecute,” Huelse said.
Owner of Nella, Jeff Johnson, spoke about how important it is to present a united front against shoplifting on the Square.
“I think the message is that we’re all on the same team on the Square. If I know something’s going on, I’ll make sure to let other business owners know,” Johnson said. “Between all of us, we’re all taking care of each other, and that’s a good thing. With the rising costs of operating on the Square, anytime we lose an item it’s a big deal.”
Shoplifting happens throughout the year but stores are more susceptible to it during higher traffic weekends. The Square Alliance brainstormed ideas such as hiring private security for the upcoming Double Decker weekend.
Steven Gagliano is a writer for HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.