Alle-Kiski Valley police add patrols to curtail holiday shoplifting
‘Tis the season for plundering expensive merchandise, and so it's also the season for beefing up police patrols in shopping areas.
Although shoplifting in the Alle-Kiski Valley this holiday season doesn't match the audacity of the five thieves who recently walked off with thousands of dollars worth of high-end hand bags from the Louis Vuitton store at the Ross Park Mall, police here remain vigilant.
“I don't have four and five people rushing in and grabbing things and running out, but it could happen any time,” said Frazer police Chief Carl Toscolani, whose police department patrols Pittsburgh Mills mall.
“We have so many cameras stationed here that if it does happen, we're bound to get the license plate number,” he said.
And that's about 300 cameras.
Between the cameras inside and outside the stores and in the parking lots, Toscolani is confident his department could pull a license number from surveillance video footage.
And such defense is needed as retailers nationwide stand to lose $8.9 billion this holiday season from retail theft, which would be 4 percent higher than last year's losses, according to the Centre for Retail Research in the United Kingdom.
Every holiday season, Frazer and other police departments step up patrols in shopping areas.
“Our officers even walk the mall for police presence there,” Toscolani said.
It also helps that Frazer police work with mall security and the Frazer police station is in the mall.
“We have an open door policy with the stores,” he said.
Jerry Crites, general manager of Pittsburgh Mills said, “”The great advantage we have compared to every other mall is that we have the police department in the mall — that's a great deterrent.”
Lower Burrell police increase patrols at the Hillcrest Shopping Center and other retail developments, according to city police Chief Tim Weitzel.
“Typically, we increase those patrols this time of year every year,” he said.
So far this holiday season, Weitzel reports that there isn't an uptick or trend of unusual retail thefts.
Weitzel stressed that shoppers need to think about their own safety as well by not leaving their purses unattended, parking in well-lit areas and having their car keys ready before walking to their vehicles.
Toscolani said that shoplifting activity is about what it was last year, with maybe four or five cases per week.
The incidents typically involve less than $1,000 in merchandise and are handled by the stores.
“Like I tell my men: ‘We're going to prepare for the worst, and we're going to hope for the best,' ” he said.
Mary Ann Thomas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- New Kensington slaying victims identified
- Freeport Bridge reopens, Route 356 traffic still affected
- 2 dead in New Kensington shooting; woman says male victim her ex-husband
- Lower Burrell teen uses operatic gift to support Alzheimer’s charity
- West Deer supervisor accused of ethics violation
- Lower Burrell man Ameris to go to trial in cases involving guns, drugs, witness intimidation
- Allegheny Valley School Board gives raises
- Kiski Valley project won’t be done on time
- Freeport Bridge opens, Route 356 traffic still affected
- Harmar’s Funfest preps for next phase
- South Butler School Board director not afraid to stand alone