Increased Security Helps Deter Holiday Shoplifting

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Knoxville (WVLT) - While many of you spent your gift cards, others may have helped themselves to items on their wish list.

Volunteer TV's Kim Bedford spoke with some local businesses about the holiday season shoplifting this year.

Retailers say unfortunately shoplifting is pretty tempting this time of year, the 17th annual Retail Theft Survey says more than 750,000 shoplifters and dishonest employees were arrested last year by just 27 us retail companies. Some Knoxville retailers say they've seen fewer shoplifters this holiday season, but they have to constantly be on the lookout.

"CD's, DVD's, all kinds of boutique items. There's a bunch of things here for people to buy and I guess steal," says Knathan Halliburton, Disc Exchange employees say they have to watch their customers and their merchandise the closest this time of year.

"We really rely on our staff to kind of be the eyes and ears and they're pretty vigilant," Assistant Manager Knathan Halliburton says they don't take shoplifting lightly.

"We clamp down and kind of find the people because you get a lot of repeat offenders and we'll see stuff that has been shoplifted, and that makes it a little easier to pick out who's doing it," Halliburton says.

And this holiday season they're seeing everyone at the cash register.

"I haven't had an incident where I've caught somebody this year, so that's good," says Knathan.

The Disc Exchange also has some help with technology, "al of our products are in security shells that have magnets. We've got like when you walk out of the most retail stores, they've got the magnet sensors," Halliburton explains.

And as more customers come in, they take even more precautions.

"We do have security cameras installed and the last couple days before Christmas, we actually had a police officer that would help us with traffic and also provide kind of an intimidating force out there," says Halliburton.

And once you make it inside, "We really prefer people to leave bags and things like that, big bags and backpacks behind the counter just to take that option away," he says.

"This year has been extremely better than last year," McMillan's store manager Kelly Disney says the temptation to steal is typically stronger around the holidays. "I think it's just desperate measures to get that holiday gift for somebody that they can't really buy for."

Fortunately, McMillan's has also done well with customers coming to the register. "As far as I can tell, we haven't found any missing items, which is always a good thing, because that helps us not having to raise our prices."

Shoplifting is considered a misdemeanor and if you're caught, under Tennessee law you can end up paying triple the cost for what you've stolen.