Retail stores see a bump in shoplifting and theft near the holidays
Retail stores see a bump in shoplifting and theft near the holidays. So in an effort to slow down the number of holiday shopping crimes, the Knox County Sheriff's Office created the Safer Holidays Task Force.
The task force is divided into five groups spread around town and each group is catching about 10 people a day for shoplifting or car theft.
According to KCSO, they created this group in 2011. This holiday season alone, they have already caught around 220 people.
Deputy Sheriff Nick Phillips is an officer with the task force.
The task force keeps an eye out around Knox County for anyone who's looking to steal someone's Christmas.
In cases where the suspect is a parent, they have to find another family member to pick up the child. Sometimes they have to go a step further and call DCS.
Sometimes their suspects hit more than one shop, tallying up a larger total with a possible stiffer penalty.
Phillips sees repeat offenders, but ultimately thinks the task force is making a difference.
"I specifically remember the one girl saying I knew I shouldn't have came out-- I knew I shouldn't have came out. Because we had gotten her the year before in the task force time. I think it is really effective and the retailers really appreciate it," said Phillips.
These officers ride in both unmarked and marked cars for their patrols.
KCSO and the retailers also have an email system to share information about security. That way everyone is on the same page when these holiday thefts take place.