Kentwood PD helps stores fight holiday crime

Kentwood police are helping local businesses avoid stolen items during the holiday shopping season.

KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) — It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, with shelves getting restocked more often and cash registers spitting out more receipts. It’s also prime time for the folks who want more than the sale price on items.

In 2016, theft cost U.S. retailers nearly $49 billion.

So the Kentwood Police Department is out again this year in an effort to stop the most common holiday crimes before they happen.

“We have a bunch of officers that are working extra on the streets, 28th Street and 29th Street, during our busiest holiday season,” Sgt. Nichole Dalziel said.

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They call it Operation PRICE, short for Preventing Retail Theft through Initiative, Collaboration and Enforcement. Officers are going store to store, talking to managers and sales associates about how to spot and prevent crime.

If crime and holiday fashion have one thing in common, it’s trends. This year, Kentwood police have noticed more people passing counterfeit bills.

“Also a couple of things you might want to look out for is individuals that shop in groups. So one will come in and deter the employees, pull them away from the floor so the others can some in and conceal those items,” Dalziel explained a new trend in shoplifting.

Kentwood police started PRICE in 2014. They say there’s proof it’s working.

“Over the years, from 2014, we saw quite a bit of a reduction in our retail theft and we’ve had a lot of great reaction from our businesses,” Dalziel said. “They feel like this program’s been very beneficial.”

They have also seen a noticeable appreciation from retailers.

“It’s fantastic,” John Falk, who runs the Payless ShoeSource at 28th Street and Radcliff Avenue SE, said of PRICE. “We really appreciate the extra eyes and presence around this time of year.”

More officers in the stores also means more officers on patrol. Expect to see Kentwood police enforcing speed and other traffic rules this holiday season.