Local News

As Shopping Increases, So Does Shoplifting

Posted November 26, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— Merchants are preparing for a flood of determined shoppers, ready to spend for the holidays, but they're also preparing for something else -- shoplifters.

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

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

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

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

Officers from various law enforcement agencies patrol the mall to keep an eye on shoplifters, and any other problems. Northgate's Operations director, Bruce Benton, says having visible security can often be a deterrent 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:Gil Hollingsworth