Shoplifting and security

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News 12 at 6:00, December 19, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga. --- It's the last week of holiday shopping. And along with the big crowds, stores are bumping up security. North Augusta Public Safety said clothes, toys, and TV's are some of the common items shoplifters steal.

"Anything basically they can get out the doors," Officer Jeremy Youngblood said.

So far in December, North Augusta Public Safety said there have been ten cases of shoplifting. Officers said Walmart, Kmart, and Hamricks are the hardest hit places in North Augusta. And in the past couple of weeks, some officers have even had to chase after shoplifters...trying to run off with store merchandise.

"Some of them do run. Not all of them are going to cooperate. When they do decide to run we quickly try to apprehend them and take them into custody," Youngblood said.

Officers said stores like Walmart and Hamricks, have people walking around the store keeping a close eye on shoppers.

"You'll never know that your being watched. You'll never know who it is. You'll just know that you'll get caught," Youngblood said.

Over at Windsor Jewelers in Augusta, they've increased security. When you drive by on Washington Road, you'll see a deputy out in the parking lot.

"It's more just of a presence. The people feel good. They're coming out with their purchases. They have somebody here," Sgt. Richard Shiflett said.

He said it's all about visibility, which stops people from committing crimes like shoplifting. Windsor Jewelers said they always have an armed officer on site, but during the holidays they have between two and three. One in the parking lot and one inside.

"So we do heighten security this time of year, just for our customer's comfort," Michael Zibman said.

He said this helps ease their fear of shoplifters.

"Shoplifting is less of a concern, it's usually under lock and key and were pretty well aware of what goes on," Zibman said.

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