According to the FBI, theft cost victims an estimated 5.6 billion dollars nationwide in 2016.
We’re putting North Dakota first and spent some time combing through Bismarck’s 2017 crime report
released last week. It turns out there is an increase in theft here at home.
Crimes against property have increased overall by 4.16 percent between 2017 and 2016. What’s notable in this category is that shoplifting is up by 58.42 percent.
That means 884 shoplifters were arrested in 2017 compared to 558 in 2016.
Crime Prevention Officer Pat Renz says, “I like to see higher shoplifting numbers, because that shows that retailers are taking it seriously. And not just apprehending shoplifters, but also charging them criminally.”
Shoplifting is a regular occurrence at the Bismarck Runnings. Store Manager Tony Jennings has noticed an increase since the store opened it’s doors in 2006.
Jennings adds, “Oh, I don’t think it’s just Runnings. I think every retailer has problems with it. I know my neighbors here, Captain Jacks over there, he has problems with it on a regular basis; Dan’s has problems with it on a regular basis.”
Jennings says occasionally they’ll have a day without theft, but the next they will have three.
Renz says, “Maybe there are more shoplifters that are out there now, but what I’m really thinking is that it’s the retailers are becoming more vigilant.”
Renz says the ability to identify a suspect has also improved with photo quality.
The Police Department posts photos of suspected shoplifters to their Facebook page.
Jennings adds, “Unfortunately some people don’t have the same ethics as others and they don’t think it’s wrong, but it is. It’s stealing from the retailer which causes prices to be higher than they should.”
Jennings says Runnings trains all employees in loss prevention and always alerts other nearby store after encountering a shoplifter.
The Bismarck Police Department provides training for retailers in preventing and detecting shoplifting,
and what to do once you’ve apprehended a suspect.
Officer Renz says the course is free. Simply call the BPD and ask for the Crime Prevention Unit.