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As Shopping Increases, So Does Shoplifting

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Increased shopping in area malls and stores means an increase in shoplifting.
DURHAM — Merchants are preparing for a flood ofdetermined shoppers, ready to spend for the holidays, but they're alsopreparing for something else -- shoplifters.

Shoplifting increases costs for everyone. The North Carolina MerchantsAssociation says four percent of all retail prices cover $25 million inshoplifting losses every day. This holiday season, malls are prepared.

Shoplifters take advantage of crowded shopping areas and distractedclerks. Store Manager Brooke Redmond says merchants can't absorb that kindof loss.

Most stores have hired extra workers to keep an eye on the crowds.Many stores are also equipped with sensors to prevent shoplifters fromgetting away, but Redmond says even that doesn't stop the best of thebandits.

Mall security increases by 30 percent during the holidays. Securitydirectory for Northgate Mall in Durham, Franklin Edwards says extrasecurity can help merchants until police arrive.

Officers from various law enforcement agencies patrol the mall to keepan eye on shoplifters, and any other problems. Northgate's Operationsdirector, Bruce Benton, says having visible security can often be adeterrent to crime.

Other security measures taken at the Northgate mall in Durham include more bright lights inside and outside and a shuttle service to take shoppers to their cars.

Photographer:GilHollingsworth

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