Businesses and stores throughout the Amber Valley are going online in a bid to catch out shoplifters.
The Shop Watch scheme, introduced in Alfreton in October 2010, now has more than 60 members and is being rolled out across the borough.
Members have access to a secure online database of people who have been caught shoplifting and receive alerts sent out by email and text message whenever a new message is uploaded.
Police Sergeant Dave Harrison, of the Amber Valley Community Safety Partnership said: “Shop Watch Online is an additional tool we can use to raise awareness of suspicious incidents, give important crime prevention advice and improve communications between police and retailers.
“Our main aim is to get the message across that shoplifters are not welcome in the Amber Valley.”
The scheme also provides businesses with stickers for doors or windows to act as a deterrent to thieves, free security advice and staff training and opportunities for networking with other local businesses.
Sgt. Harrison added: “There has been an increase in shoplifting over the past few months across the area and it is something we are keen to reduce, and we are confident that we can target this by encouraging members to work collectively alongside their local police.”
Between April, 1 and June, 11 2013 there have been a total of 137 shoplifting offences recorded in the Amber Valley, 22 more than in the same period during 2012.
Councillor Chris Short, cabinet member for safe and secure places to live said: “It might seem that retail crime is a victimless crime, but that isn’t the case as honest shopkeepers suffer because of these thefts. Our residents also suffer as the costs of retail related crime get passed onto the community through prices.
Retailers interested in taking part in the scheme should contact Sally Price, Shop Watch administrator, on 01773 841652.