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The Deets: Is Target better than other stores at catching shoplifters?

There is an interesting discussion happening over on the City-Data forums about how the heck the Longfellow Neighborhood managed to have 142 crime incidents (PDF) in the first quarter of 2011. That does seem a bit high.

Before getting into that, as a reminder, Minneapolis has two areas called Longfellow. One is the Longfellow Neighborhood which represents an area just to the SE of Hiawatha & Lake. The other is the Longfellow Community, which includes the Longfellow Neighborhood, along with three other neighborhoods: Cooper, Howe, and Hiawatha. Together, the wedge of land from Minnehaha Falls between the Mississippi and Hiawatha Ave up to the Midtown Greenway is the Longfellow Community.

In this case, the City-Data discussion is talking about the area to the east of Hiawatha & Lake. As they discuss, the area has 103 larcenies in the first quarter of 2011. That’s around 1 a day. Larcenies are petty theft. This isn’t being people mugged or having their homes broken into. It’s more often shoplifting, or having a bike stolen.

So, why does that neighborhood have such high larceny rates? Target. Lots of people are caught shoplifting there. Notice the concentration of larceny locations (the other marker is for a car that was broken into):

Longfellow Neighborhood Crimes
Other C4 Offenses“>C4 Stats for 3rd Precinct

Which, to me, is one of the quirks of crime stats. People shoplift at stores all over the place, but Target seems to be particularly good at catching shoplifters. Because of this, the crime stats at Target’s are likely much higher than other areas where shoplifters have more success.

For those interested in lowering the crime stats, one idea would be to stop stealing from Target. Another option would be to follow these tips on how to steal from Target. Or, apparently, you’ll have more success if you time your visits to when no Targetrons with confrontation authority are on the clock.

The How to Steal from Target link claims that Target has a “no chase” policy. Based on the people I’ve seen chased out onto Lake Street before being tackled, that may not apply to our local Target store.

This post was written by Ed Kohler and originally published on The Deets. Follow Ed on Twitter:@edkohler

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by John Farrell on 05/10/2011 - 12:38 pm.


    Target isn’t better at catching shoplifters. The reason they have so many marks on the police report is that Target calls police and prosecutes every single shoplifting incident, at enormous public expense. Furthermore, they have more shoplifters because they are simply the largest retail presence in Longfellow.

    You might want to read some of the material from my colleague Stacy Mitchell on the cost of big box retailers. Their use of police for every minor crime serves their bottom line, but often not the community’s best interest.

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