JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas –
A shoplifting prevention campaign implemented last summer at the Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Exchange appears to be paying dividends for the 902nd Security Forces Squadron.
The number of shoplifting cases at Randolph plummeted to five through the first six months of 2013, a sharp decrease from the first two quarters of 2012, when 24 cases were recorded.
"There's been a great improvement," Staff Sgt. Edward Grant, 902nd SFS police services NCO in charge, said. "The collective effort of the signs we've posted in the exchange 'hot areas' and the increase in patrol walk-throughs has contributed to the significant progress we've made in curtailing shoplifting."
Grant said 39 shoplifting cases were recorded in 2012 - all of them at the exchange. Four of the five shoplifters apprehended at Randolph so far this year were caught at the exchange; the other was arrested at the commissary.
The shoplifting prevention campaign, based on the theme "You Are Being Watched," began in the second quarter of 2012, after 16 shoplifters were apprehended in the first quarter.
The campaign included the placement of life-sized cut-out posters of staged apprehensions in what Grant described as the "hot areas" of the exchange - the cosmetics, jewelry and electronics, or "power zone," sections - where shoplifting is prevalent.
"When you see one of those signs, you'll think twice before putting something in your pockets," he said. "It's right there. You can't miss it. It's staring you right in the face."
Grant said a majority of the shoplifters are teenagers, who target a variety of items, from cosmetics and clothing to video games.
Cases typically increase during the summer because teenagers are out of school, but no apprehensions were recorded in June this year, he said.
The value of shoplifted items has also declined, Grant said.
"Last year, we had seven items shoplifted that were worth more than $100 each in value," he said. "This year, there have been none more than $100."
Another key component of shoplifting prevention are the members of the loss prevention team, who monitor the facilities through video cameras, Grant said.
"These specialists are highly skilled in knowing those who are there to steal," he said.
Capt. Christopher Osborne, 902nd SFS operations officer, said shoplifting prevention will continue to be a major emphasis for the squadron.
"Shoplifting is a constant concern, and we are making every effort to deter shoplifters and detect those who are intent on shoplifting at Randolph," he said. "Our goal is to reduce our yearly shoplifting rate to zero, but until then, we will continue to improve our shoplifting preventative measures and strengthen our patrol vigilance."