LAUREL, MS (WDAM) - The Laurel Police Department on Monday hosted a free seminar for local business owners on shoplifting prevention.
Chief Tyrone Stewart says that there's a dramatic increase in shoplifting during the holiday shopping season (October through December). Crimes like these, say experts, are usually crimes of opportunity. Increased security is the best way to prevent crimes of opportunity.
"We're all here to join together as a team to discuss, to educate for the shoplifting cases we have coming," said Police Chief Stewart.
Big stores with a lot of people such as Walmart are most susceptible, but shoplifting occurs in all places of business.
Business owners were reminded that they have the right to refuse service to anyone who appears suspicious. They are advised to watch for people who linger in the store and for those dressed inappropriately for the weather, such as individuals wearing bulky coats or hooded sweatshirts on a warm day.
Statistically, shoplifters are only turned over to the police about half of the time because of the expense and burden of pursuing prosecution. Despite this, the Laurel Police Department encourages prosecution to prevent shoplifters from striking again.