Iowa City police see shoplifting spike


SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Police officials note that shoplifting charges are on the rise, though they believe this is little reason for concern.

In 2011, the Iowa City police saw 348 cases of shoplifting, up almost 70 from the year before and almost double since 2007.

Officer Jorey Bailey said the increase in the number of shoplifting charges could be the result of security renovations in Hy-Vee or Walmart — two of Iowa City's larger retail stores.

"Statistics rise and fall," Bailey said. "The numbers [could] be up because more people are getting caught."

Despite the increase, Iowa City police Sgt. Denise Brotherton said police officials are mostly unconcerned.

"For us, that's not a huge enough jump where we would consider it a problem," she said. "Our [numbers] are fairly consistent for the population and the added security at Hy-Vee."

Brotherton and Bailey pointed to additional security cameras and loss-prevention officials at the grocery chain. Hy-Vee officials were unable to comment.

At smaller operations, the increase might not apply.

"I don't think it's affected us that much," said Record Collector owner Kirk Walther. "We're a fairly small store, and it's pretty hard to get away with stealing because of the setup of the store."

Bailey said many businesses have looked into loss-prevention training, taught by the police, to combat shoplifting.

Regular staff members can be trained as loss-prevention officials, who can examine potential shoplifting risks in the layout of their businesses.

The predominant number of reported shoplifting cases come from large retail areas, largely because of their security personnel, Brotherton said.

Brotherton said shoplifters often use the poor economy as an excuse, but she doubted the economy was related to the shoplifting increase.

"I think people will say that, that will be an excuse when they are caught, but once again, a criminal is a criminal, and they are going to take advantage of the opportunity," she said.

Brotherton believes Iowa City offers an adequate number of resources for the community to get meals and assistance.

"If we were in an area where meals were not provided by service agencies here, then that might be a valid excuse for somebody [to steal]," she said.

Bailey said he thinks the number of shoplifters will remain steady after new loss-prevention efforts have been put in place.

"I think [the numbers] will plateau with the added equipment," he said. "More people are getting caught."

In today's issue:

comments powered by Disqus

Privacy Policy (8/15/07) | Terms of Use (4/28/08) | Content Submission Agreement (8/23/07) | Copyright Compliance Policy (8/25/07) | RSS Terms of Use

Copyright © The Daily Iowan, All Rights Reserved.