Local Stores Meet In An Effort To Prevent Shoplifting


Competitors are coming together to combat a big problem in Grand Island: shoplifting.

Grand Island Police brought local stores together for a second meeting Tuesday.

Shoplifting isn't a huge problem at Carla Jensen's store, but she knows the consequences if it becomes one.

"If there's no money coming in, if it walks out the door, that means no money goes in my pocket or no money goes to the store," said Jensen, owner of Royalty Boutique. "If there's not enough in there to pay the bills then the store shuts down."

G.I. Police Officer Butch Hurst said other local stores are being hit hard by thieves.

"It's fairly severe," Hurst said of the problem.

That's why retailers - big and small - are coming together to swap information on the shoplifters they're encountering.

"If they have photographs or digital, they show it to each other and say 'hey, do you know this person,'" said Hurst.

Police want that information too.

Hurst said putting pictures or video on the department's Facebook page has helped them identify shoplifters.

"Especially if it's somebody that's not from the local area, they're maybe from an outer area and with Facebook, on more than one occasion, people have called in and had not only their names, but where they live," he said.

With these new "retail seminars" police hope to not only catch thieves, but prevent shoplifting in the first place.

In their second meeting, they talked cash register placement, the store's legal rights and knowing the places in their store that people shoplift.

"If you know what the weak points are, contact your boss or supervisor and let them know so you can try to plug up the holes," said Hurst.

Hurst said many stores - especially national chains - have their own shoplifting policies, which can make specific suggestions made at these meetings difficult to implement. He said that's why it's important for local managers to talk to their bosses.

Hurst hopes more retailers will join the conversation at their third meeting in August.

"I think it's helping," he said.

Retail managers who attended the meeting, but wished to remain anonymous, tell NTV they find it beneficial to communicate with other stores in the area.

Jensen didn't attend Tuesday's meeting, but says she hopes to in the future.