KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) — West Michigan retailers are banding together with police to fight shoplifting as the final days to purchase gifts before Christmas quickly disappear.
The Kentwood Police Department is partnering with 78 stores through Operation P.R.I.C.E., Preventing Retail Theft Through Initiative, Collaboration and Enforcement.
Officer Derrick Wolterink works with businesses to educate them about the latest trends in retail theft.
“There’s always an increase around the holiday shopping season up here in the retail district,” Wolterink said.
The operation helps stores navigate antitheft technology, investigate cases and train staff members on what to look for.
Alyssa Davison the store manager of Gazelle Sports on 28th Street says Operation P.R.I.C.E. has made a big impact.
“They are a great resource for us in continuing to move through the holiday season safely,” Davison said.
She said the collective knowledge is helpful in preparing for and responding to shoplifting.
“If there’s a level of consistency perhaps the same individual or group of individuals, it helps them do a better job and know that we’ve got a great partnership with many other retailers,” Davison said.
By working to prevent shoplifting, it helps smaller business that find it even more challenging to absorb the losses.
“I just hope that people understand that businesses like ours really suffer when someone steals something,” Davison said.
Officers want potential shoplifters to think twice before walking out the door and skipping the cash register.
“You have court costs, fines, jail costs all those kind of add into so yeah it’s definitely not worth stealing an item from the store,” Wolterink said.
The Kentwood Police Department launched Operation P.R.I.C.E. in 2014.