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Businesses band together to fight crime during holiday shoplifting season

By Kristen Consillio

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    OAHU, Hawaii (KITV) — It’s holiday shopping season and that means more shoplifters.

But at least one store in Ala Moana Center is seeing fewer thieves than it did a year ago.

“A year ago and a little bit before that the cases were quite high. Somewhere between, I’d say one to two on average per day,” said James Gieschen, owner of Sugar Sugar Hawaii. “But now it is a lot better than it used to be.”

On average there’s now two to four incidents a week at Sugar Sugar Hawaii’s four stores across Oahu.

That’s in large part because the owners are banding together with more than a dozen other small businesses to fight crime.

“If there is some someone who has stolen from us, then our neighbors will know pretty much immediately,” he said. “It’s almost like a neighborhood watch, but for small businesses, and it’s been so advantageous.”

“We’re actually telling retailers or store owners maybe to hire extra staff,” said Honolulu Police Department Sgt. Chris Kim, who runs the program. “If you’re not able to accommodate large crowds maybe limit the amount of customers you let into the stores. Invest in security cameras as well.”

Sugar Sugar Hawaii has invested $100,000 in surveillance systems and spends up to 60 hours a week going after criminals.

The retailer is known for posting online — and then prosecuting — shoplifters.

But it’s all in the name of tough love.

“It’s trying to get them help. It’s not about anger. It’s not about revenge,” Gieschen said. “It is simply about love.”

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