Police Take On Zero Tolerance Approach with Shoplifters in Mt. Juliet, Retail Text Alert Program Launched

Mt. Juliet, Tenn. – Shoplifting is on the rise in the city with 37% more shoplifting offenses in 2013 than 2012, and the Mt. Juliet Police Department is rolling out new tactics in an effort to curb this rising trend. The new efforts include educating retail staff on the crime, implementing a zero tolerance approach to shoplifters, and launching a Retail Text Alert program.

The zero tolerance approach to shoplifting will make it more inconvenient for shoplifters to operate in Mt. Juliet, and officers have been instructed to take shoplifters to jail rather than issue a misdemeanor citation to the offender. In the past, shoplifting offenders were simply issued a misdemeanor citation for their crime if it was not a felony. This process was quick, and the shoplifter was able to walk away after completing some paperwork. Now, shoplifters are arrested and transported to jail, which is much more inconvenient and less desirable for the offender.

“We want to create an environment in our retail community that is very difficult for shoplifters to be successful,” stated Police Chief James Hambrick. “By providing more resources to our merchants and making it more difficult to shoplift in our community, I am hoping that we can lower the occurrence of shoplifting.”

Earlier this month, members from Mt. Juliet Police Department’s Command Staff met with merchants in the Providence MarketPlace and Paddocks retail developments to educate business owners and managers on the crime. How to spot a shoplifter, preventing shoplifting, and prosecuting shoplifters were all topics that were discussed during the educational meetings. Educational material was provided to the owners and managers so they could pass it along to their employees as well.

To ensure retail managers and loss prevention staff are aware of active shoplifters, Mt. Juliet Police is launching a Retail Text Alert program. Under the Retail Text Alert program, a text message is sent out to retail managers and loss prevention staff as soon as officers respond to an area store for a crime. The alerts will typically include the location of the crime, suspect description, and what kind of items the suspect is targeting.

“Shoplifters do not just target one store, and they hit many stores in the area,” stated Sergeant Tyler Chandler. “If someone is targeting our stores, we want to ensure we get the word out so we can prevent other crimes from occurring.”

So far this month, Mt. Juliet Police responded to 16 shoplifting incidents and charged 11 people for shoplifting. To register for the Retail Text Alert program, retail managers and loss prevention staff can contact Community Policing Coordinator James Christensen at (615) 773-6253 or jchristensen@cityofmtjuliet.org.