Dover PD Putting Shoplifting Arrests Online - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Dover PD Putting Shoplifting Arrests Online

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DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - Police in Dover are cracking down on shoplifting. Starting Aug. 15 the department will post all of its shoplifting arrests online.

It's a plan other towns are familiar with on Delmarva. Salisbury police send out a weekly news release detailing their shoplifting arrests. Bayard Pharmacy in downtown Dover sells a lot of different products. Owner Erik Mabus says shoplifting is definitely a concern for him.

"Everything we lose with shoplifting is really hurts the bottom line," he said. "It comes out of our pocket, out of the pockets of the people who work with us." To combat it, he's got surveillance cameras, doesn't overstock the shelves and interacts with customers.

"We've had lots of people who looked like maybe they were ready to do something. The more you ask them if they need help - they eventually walk out. They don't buy anything. You feel good that maybe you stop something."

The pharmacy and other Dover businesses will soon have another tool. The Dover Police Department website will list its previous week's shoplifting arrests - names, mug shots and store involved.

"It's not a victimless crime," said Cpl. Mark Hoffman, spokesman for Dover PD. "It doesn't just affect the business. It affects the consumers as well. It ties up the justice system. It also ties up our officers."

Cpl. Hoffman says Dover officers respond to about 900 shoplifting complaints a year. He says all the info Dover PD will post is already public record, and this is not about public shaming. "Our goal isn't to shame or embarrass or punish anybody. Our goal is to enforce the law."

In the year and a half Bayard Pharmacy has been open, Mabus knows he's had people shoplift from his store - though they haven't taken that much. Still he's glad police are being proactive and likes the awareness the plan will bring.

"We'll be able to go out and see this person has shoplifted. I've seen them in our store ten times. I know to watch a little closer now," Mabus said.

Cpl. Hoffman says the department got the idea from a town similar to Dover in Texas. He says that town saw a ten percent drop in shoplifting in the first year it used the system. And he'd like to see similar results here.

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