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Businesses team up against shoplifters

Date Posted: 2007-01-08

Okinawa’s leading businesses have joined forces in a Prefecture Prevention Shoplifter Countermeasures Conference.

More than a dozen businesses, including major supermarket and department store leaders San A, Ryukyu, Jusco and Kanehide, have met with prefecture and national crime prevention leaders to discuss ways to reduce shoplifting. Shoplifting is a particularly big problem at large stores.

Okinawa is the 14th prefecture to join the national anti-crime conference. Business leaders confirm they’re working together, cooperating with information and techniques to make shoplifting more difficult. They acknowledge young boys to be a principal target, citing statistics which show 47.4% of shoplifters are boys.

Prefecture Police say 1,319 shoplifting apprehensions were made in Okinawa through November. While a 10% decrease from a year ago, police say the figure is still ten times higher than a decade ago. Okinawa ranks as the second worst prefecture for shoplifting arrests.

Officials say the hours 4pm-6pm, shortly after schools are dismissed, are the highest shoplifting hours in stores and supermarkets. Schools are being asked to participate with the business community in educating youngsters against shoplifting.

Kumiko Itokazu, who heads the local foundation meeting, says major business leaders worry that when a youngster is apprehended by in-store theft prevention personnel, “we wonder whether to report everything because for most it is their first offense and we can prevent future incidents with some good advice.”

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