Parsons PD working to curb holiday shoplifting and theft
Department starting Operation Santa Watch
PARSONS, Kan. – Since opening Gold and Silver Exchange 25 years ago, Gloria Cunningham has seen a lot of change. But one thing has always been a constant… shoplifting.
“If we get like real busy and get a lot of people in, you can’t keep your eyes on everything. And we have cameras, but still, you know, it happens,” explains Cunningham.
Those cameras do help deter the crime, but they’ve become less effective since most people have been wearing masks — making it much more difficult to identify them after the fact.
“Sometimes I try to look at it, well if they needed it hopefully it will bless them you know,” says Cunningham.
It’s a common problem in Parsons, especially around the holidays, with more than 500 thefts happening last year. So the police department is starting a new program to help curb the problem.
“Operation Santa watch is gonna be a holiday crime control patrol prevention. We’re gonna try to get on top of all the crimes we normally have during the holiday season,” says Seargent Cheryl Landon with the Parsons Police Department.
Starting on December 11th, officers will be doing regular patrols in parking lots and going into stores to try and prevent shoplifting and thefts from unlocked cars.
“I’m pretty excited about it. I think this is gonna stop a lot of the theft reports that we have to take during this time of year. Especially shoplifting reports that we typically take,” says Landon. “And if we don’t have to take 12 to 15 theft reports a day we have a lot of time to do other things.”
And since officers will already be around, they plan to help employees and shoppers get to their cars at night, help change flat tires, and even do the occasional jump start.
“It’s not something that’s very difficult, so I do have a lot of officers that are willing to help out with it, which is great. So I think it’s gonna be successful,” says Landon.
Cunningham is excited about the idea and hopes it will help remind people of something that’s pretty simple.
“You can’t just take something that doesn’t belong to you. That there are consequences if you get caught doing such a thing. It’s a good thing to have their force in here,” says Cunningham.
The program will run through December 31st.
Officers will also help remind shoppers about the mask ordinance in Parsons as they do store walk-throughs.
PARSONS POLICE IMPLEMENTS OPERATION SANTA WATCH – SHOPPING CRIME PREVENTION MOBILIZATION FOR THE HOLIDAYS