LAFAYETTE, La (KLFY) – The Lafayette Police Department is setting its sights on shoplifters after a sudden spike in thefts. Officers have started a program aimed at catching the thieves.
“We want to put a stop to the shoplifting,” said Lafayette Interim Police Chief, Reginald Thomas.
More and more stores are moving into the Lafayette area. Police say because of it, they’re seeing a spike in shoplifting cases.
“We’re at 248 calls as of the end of March, resulting in 201 arrests,” said Lafayette Police Sgt. Kyle Soriez.
“Shoplifting has been pretty much through the roof, so what we decided to do is start a team and we assigned them to start monitoring the shoplifting,” said Chief Thomas.
Chief Thomas says the department started the Community Oriented Policing (COPS) unit about two months ago.
He says they meet with loss prevention officers from different stores once a month to talk about common shoplifting practices.
“The crime of shoplifting now, because we started this unit, is slowly starting to go down,” said Chief Thomas.
Chief Thomas believes the stiffer punishment also plays a role in the decreasing number of shoplifting cases.
“The first time you get a misdemeanor summons. The second time you’re then arrested,” said Chief Thomas.
The police department encourages everyone to keep their eyes and ears out for anything out of the norm.
“We would encourage the citizens that if they’re in a retail outlet and they see some suspicious activity or something that just doesn’t feel right to them, notify store management who will in turn make that call to us,” said Sgt. Soriez.
“The bottom line, what I want everybody to know, do not come to Lafayette and shoplift,” said Chief Thomas.
Chief Thomas says so far the program is showing some positive results.