Security officials with the Bonita Lakes Mall are intent on sending a clear message to those unscrupulous people who choose to steal rather than pay for their holiday gifts like everyone else.

Shoppers at the mall may notice increased security from the Bonita Lakes Mall Security Department. But according to Courtney Hall of the public affairs office, that won’t be the only deterrent at the disposal of merchants and mall administrators.

“Stores will have their own security on hand during this time of increased traffic,” said Hall. “Mall security officers are there to support any situation that may arise. In addition to that, Meridian Police Department officers will make periodic, random sweeps through the mall just to further bolster the security presence.”

Hall would not go into specifics regarding just what stores and security personnel do to combat shoplifters saying it would be unwise to reveal some of the techniques used by security personnel. However, it would be safe to say watchful eyes, both human and electronic, would be utilized in order to spot would-be shoplifters.

Hall said customer safety and peace of mind is very important not only during this time of year but every day.

“We value our customers and want them to enjoy their visit here,” Hall said. “If you feel safe, then you will be more inclined to come back.”

Shoplifters attract little public attention because they usually aren’t dangerous or violent. But shoplifting is up 35 percent in the past four years, according to a New York-based nonprofit organization that counsels shoplifters, making it the fastest-growing crime in the larceny category.

Shoplifting Facts

• More than $13 billion worth of goods are stolen from retailers each year. That’s more than $35 million per day.

• There are approximately 27 million shoplifters (or 1 in 11 people) in our nation today. More than 10 million people have been caught shoplifting in the last five years.

• Shoplifting affects more than the offender. It overburdens the police and the courts, adds to a store’s security expenses, costs consumers more for goods, costs communities lost dollars in sales taxes.

• Shoplifters steal from all types of stores including department stores, specialty shops, supermarkets, drug stores, discounters, music stores, convenience stores and thrift shops.

• There is no profile of a typical shoplifter. Men and women shoplift about equally as often.

• Approximately 25 percent of shoplifters are kids, 75 percent are adults. 55 percent of adult shoplifters say they started shoplifting in their teens.

• Drug addicts, who have become addicted to shoplifting, describe shoplifting as equally addicting as drugs.

• 57 percent of adults and 33 percent of juveniles say it is hard for them to stop shoplifting even after getting caught.

• Habitual shoplifters steal an average of 1.6 times per week.

source: National Association of Shoplifter Prevention

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