HIGH POINT, N.C. -- The High Point Police Department launched its "Larceny Theft Initiative" Wednesday, in an attempt to crack down on a recent spike in shoplifting in the city.
Lieutenant Tracy Perry explained summer is a time in which crime rates typically increase overall, and shoplifting is prevalent. The National Association of Shoplifting Prevention reports for every one time someone is caught shoplifting, he or she has shoplifted an average of 48 times prior.
She said this Larceny Theft Initiative is an attempt to get local businesses more involved in the reporting and prevention of shoplifting. Starting this Wednesday, the High Point Police Department is inviting anyone who works in the High Point retail sector to attend retail theft meetings at the police department to discuss loss prevention. The meetings are scheduled at 10 a.m. each second Wednesday of every other month (the next meeting is Sept. 10).
Police also will begin sending warning letters to repeated larceny offenders and posting "Don't Steal Here" flyers in businesses.
Perry said currently, officers do not have a compiled record of every shoplifting suspect's past convictions. She said this Retail Theft Initiative will streamline that information and help impose harsher punishments on repeat offenders. Currently, North Carolina law stipulates any adult who steals or obtains property by false pretense and is convicted of a misdemeanor has to pay damages of $150 to $1,000.
Detective Kim Rieson explained someone who has obtained four misdemeanor convictions for shoplifting will receive a felony charge for subsequent offenses. For example, if a person with four larceny misdemeanor convictions walks into a store an attempts to steal, he or she would be facing a felony larceny charge upon walking into that store.
Perry said some of the most commonly shoplifted items include diapers, razors, cosmetics, makeup, clothes and over-the-counter medications. She said police find these stolen medications are often re-sold, and the profit is used to purchase illegal drugs.
Watch WFMY News 2's Good Morning Show Thursday, as Meghann Mollerus gets a live, inside look at the Retail Theft Initiative and learn ways to prevent and report shoplifting. Question? Tweet @meghannmollerus.