Local business owners aim to deter theft | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Local business owners aim to deter theft

Adam Jensen / Tahoe Daily TribuneSam Dufour, owner of Teaz N Pleaz in South Lake Tahoe, talks about how people ended up on the store's "wall of shame" on Tuesday morning.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Call it a neighborhood watch program for local businesses.

Sam and Annett Dufour, the owners of the Teaz N Pleaz lingerie shop, are leading a push to organize South Shore businesses to identify thieves and decrease the amount of local theft-related losses.

During an interview at the store, Sam Dufour highlighted numerous ways he has been able to reduce crime at the shop.

The deterrents to theft start immediately as someone walks in. A “wall of shame” displaying surveillance photos of people caught stealing from the store is mounted on a electronic security gate just to the left of the front door. A sign warning people that surveillance cameras are in use is posted straight ahead.

The shop is equipped with a series of two dozen video cameras that can be monitored in real time via a computer at the front of the shop.

Dufour displayed the results of the security system during an interview Tuesday.

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One video shows a man casually putting a deck of cards into a jacket pocket, another shows a woman removing a pair of underwear from a box and stuffing them into her bra, a third shows a man burglarizing the business in the early morning hours of Nov. 24.

The store has been open since March and three people caught shoplifting or burglarizing the business are in some stage of the justice system because of the surveillance, Dufour said. The store has also been able to get merchandise back from thieves by showing them video footage of their actions from just moments before, Dufour said.

At $3,000, the high tech system might be too expensive for some local businesses, but it doesn’t take money to make people’s businesses more secure, Dufour said.

Some ways to reduce retail crime are as simple as saying “hello” to customers as they walk in the door or organizing products in a way where it’s easy for employees to recognize when they’re missing, Dufour said.

But getting local business owners together to share information is also an important security measure that isn’t being fully realized, Dufour said.

“I love to see good people not get robbed, and it makes us feel good,” Dufour said.

Later this month, the Lake Tahoe South Shore Chamber of Commerce will host a crime prevention forum to discuss how local retailers can make their business more secure and decrease theft-related losses.

The forum will be in addition to a crime prevention program – offered in conjunction with the South Lake Tahoe Police Department – where police officers provide free tips to business owners on how they can protect themselves from crime. The program gives “very specific” information about how particular businesses can improve security, said Lt. David Stevenson.

The forum will also help businesses retain precious dollars in an ailing economy, said Tina Bruess, the director of member services for the Lake Tahoe South Shore Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s a service to the business community,” Bruess said. “We want to make sure they are aware and protect themselves and make sure they’re viable. Awareness and education are a part of that.”

The exact time and date of the forum have not been scheduled.

For more information on the forum contact the Lake Tahoe South Shore Chamber of Commerce at (775) 588-1728.

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