The Mt. Juliet Police Department is cracking down on shoplifting.
The crime is on the rise there with a 37% increase in shoplifting cases reported in 2013 compared to 2012.
The department is taking a zero tolerance approach to fighting crime by taking offenders to jail rather than issuing misdemeanor citations and sending them on their way.
“We want to send a message that if you come to Mt. Juliet to shoplift that you are going to jail,” said Chief James Hambrick.
Mt. Juliet police officers recently met with merchants in the Providence MarketPlace and Paddocks retail developments to educate business owners about shoplifting, how to spot it, what to do about it and how to prevent it.
The department is rolling out a new Retail Text Alert Program that allows officers to send detailed messages to retail managers as soon as officers respond to a store for a crime. The alerts will help get the word out to prevent other crimes because shoplifters typically go to more than one store, according to police.
“We hope once they get that text message in real time that if that suspect does walk in they will immediately let us know so we can prevent further crime from occurring,” said Sgt. Tyler Chandler.
This month alone, the department has responded to 16 incidents and charged 11 people with shoplifting in Mt. Juliet.