Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Watchword: Mall Program Stirs Other Anti-Crime Efforts

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Watchword: Mall Program Stirs Other Anti-Crime Efforts

Article excerpt

The St. Peters Police Department began its Mall Watch program last year to help retailers at Mid-Rivers Mall take a bite out of crime. It now has a 90 percent participation level at the mall.

Now comes Business Watch, a program designed for strip malls and stores, large and small, throughout the city.

"We presented our Mall Watch program to the International Association of Shopping Centers at a meeting in St. Louis," said St. Peters officer and crime management analyst David Kuppler. "Ours is the only program in the state, and we want to share the information. Northwest Plaza inquired about it."

Mall Watch is a police-sponsored program that helps train store personnel in how to deal with problems such as shoplifting. with store employees."

Employees are trained in how shoplifters try to steal clothes. Under Mall Watch, stores have formed a network to pass information down the line. If a suspicious character leaves one store, sales clerks will call other stores to report what the person looks like and what kind of behavior he or she displayed in that store.

With Mall Watch now a success, St. Peters police have begun Business Watch, which is patterned after a program in La Mesa, Calif.

Sixteen businesses have signed up, and police are hoping others will join. A meeting is scheduled for 8 a.m. today at City Hall. The program is free and is intended for any businesses outside of Mid-Rivers Mall.

"We've got security measures for business people to follow to make their businesses resistant to bad guys," Kuppler said.

Among robbery prevention techniques Business Watch advocates:

Sales personnel should appear watchful and guarded and be alert. Sales associates should not stand behind counters when the store is empty, for example.

Put the robber on stage. Criminals do not want to be visible from outside the store, so displays or window signs that might obstruct the view of the cash register should be removed. …

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