Petty thefts frustrating to locals

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 28, 2005

“Accentuate the positive.”

As a general rule of thumb, that is what chamber of commerce’s should attempt to do-sell the strong points of a community and downplay any of the negatives.

And, all in all, I think this Chamber office does a pretty good job at doing that.

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But to not occasionally bring up for discussion some negatives is not doing just service.

Therefore, today’s column is highlighting one of the small negatives that is, unfortunately, part of our community.

That is the matter of crime-or more specifically-theft.

For the second time in a year and a half, the Chamber office has been broken into.

The first time, the guilty party pried opened our front door and took a few measly dollars that we had in a change box.

(What was he thinking?

Most chambers are as poor as a church mouse!)

This last time, the guilty party took a brick and threw it through our glass door to gain entry and took no money because there was none in the change box to take.

So, instead of stealing money, the culprit stole our floor rack that contains a lot of the brochures that we have to give out.

(That’s right, chamber members; even during a robbery your local Chamber is dispensing good information on our businesses and community events.)

I am happy to report that our local police department did a superb job in handling both instances, and made arrests.

I could not have been more pleased with our police department.

A day following this episode, I had a citizen talk to me about some petty thefts that were going on in his neighborhood.

Nothing of great value was being taken, but it was still aggravating.

And then, just yesterday, a lady visited with me who was being set up to be scammed.

Now readers, I have no answers for such problems.

I am glad that we have such a responsive police department and that such crimes are probably lower here than in other comparable cities our size.

Now, in order to assist merchants in the Demopolis area with “loss prevention” matters, the Chamber is hosting a retail workshop in mid-October that will help them be more effective in such matters as preventing shoplifting and how to properly deal with shoplifters when it happens.

The amount of money that the average retailer loses because of theft is very unsettling.

So anything that the Chamber can do to assist the retailers in our area to cut these losses is a positive.

We will be bringing in the head of store security from a major department store as the facilitator of the workshop and Officer Tim Soronen, of the Demopolis Police Department will be there teaching as well.

So, in the meantime, the next time I see a masked man I want it to be at Halloween.