Local effort to curb shoplifting reflected in RPD statistics

A local effort to cut down on theft by issuing no-trespass notices to shoplifters has shown positive results, according to a quarterly statistics presentation by the Riverton Police Department.

RPD Capt. Wes Romero said shoplifting numbers have fallen “considerably” since 2017, when his agency responded to 233 such calls.

In 2021, Romero said the number was down to 80, and during the first quarter of 2022 there have only been 13 shoplifting reports – down from 21 during the first quarter of 2021, 20 during the first quarter of 2020, and 30 during the first quarter of 2019.

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A lot of the change can be attributed to police officers working more security shifts at Walmart, a store that has seen “a pretty major decrease in their shoplifting,” Romero said, but he also commended the city for educating business owners about local trespassing laws.

The city has provided business owners with no-trespassing forms that can be submitted to the police whenever shoplifting occurs, city administrator Tony Tolstedt said, potentially explaining the higher numbers of trespassing calls in the RPD statistics report.

Local officers responded to 54 reports of trespassing during the first quarter of 2022, up from 20 the year before, 38 in 2020, and 27 in 2019.

Annual totals aren’t as consistent, however: The RPD responded to 119 trespassing calls in 2021 – down from 139 in 2020 but up slightly from 114 in 2019.

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Mayor Richard Gard emphasized that “if you’re a business and an individual shoplifts from your location, you can have them trespassed … so next time the police show up (they) have the ability to take further actions.”

“It makes it easier for the business (and) harder on people that try to do shoplifting,” Gard said, adding, “That’s one of those crimes that costs all of us a lot of money – as things get taken, prices have to go up. So we appreciate that work.”

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