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Atlanta Police Change How They Respond To Shoplifting

Atlanta Police Department officials said the department is short staffed and needs to focus on more serious than shoplifting.
Atlanta Police Department officials said the department is short staffed and needs to focus on more serious than shoplifting.
Credit Ted S. Warren / Associated Press file

Atlanta police are changing how they respond to shoplifting in Zone Two, which includes Buckhead and North Atlanta.

Instead of dispatching an officer to every shoplifting call, just one officer will be assigned to handle them all.

Major Barry Shaw said they need stores to take a more preventative approach to shoplifting.

“You’ll go in some of these places and they have a lot of stealth mode, behind the glass, watching the hidden camera,” Shaw said. “But our request has been let’s try a different model here. Let’s do more visible security.”

Shaw said most of the shoplifting calls they receive come from bigger retail stores, like Walmart or Target, not from malls.

The Simon Property Group, which operates Lenox Square and the Phipps Plaza, and the Shops Buckhead Atlanta each said they had no comment on the policy change.

Jim Durrett, with the Buckhead Community Improvement District, said the policy change is a symptom of a bigger problem.

“My concern is with our ability to fully fund a fully staffed police department in the city of Atlanta,” Durrett said.

Atlanta Police Department officials said the department is short staffed and needs to focus on more serious crimes, like burglaries and assaults.

In January of this year, Zone Two police had more than twice as many shoplifting incidents than any other Atlanta zone.