You are being watched
The 902nd Security Forces squadron is cracking down on base shoplifting.
Security forces seek help in campaign against shoplifting

by Robert Goetz
Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Public Affairs

5/11/2012 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas -- The 902nd Security Forces Squadron took its shoplifting prevention campaign to the Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Base Exchange last week.

Meeting with personnel from Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Army and Air Force Exchange Service retail facilities and organizations that work with young people and parents, 902nd SFS representatives asked for help in their efforts to curtail shoplifting on base, particularly at the BX.

"It's taking a great deal of our time, and we're trying to do everything we can to push the information out to the different agencies in order to mitigate this," Staff Sgt. Eric Simmons, 902nd SFS police services NCO in charge, said.

Sixteen shoplifters were apprehended on base in this year's first quarter, more than double the number in the first three months of 2011, prompting security forces to initiate a campaign based on the theme "You are being watched."

Simmons said most shoplifters at JBSA-Randolph are in the 16- to 21-year-old age group, so the 902nd SFS is seeking assistance from Randolph Youth Programs, Randolph High School, base housing and the Airman and Family Readiness Center to convey the message that the consequences of shoplifting are severe.

The campaign involves the circulation of fliers that show the base's shoplifting rate in each quarter since the beginning of 2011. The fliers display a pair of handcuffed hands and tell potential BX shoplifters "You are being watched. This store monitors over 92 cameras!"

Simmons said the 902nd SFS is also planning to place new life-sized cutout posters in the BX in areas where shoplifting is prevalent - in the cosmetics section and in the power zone area.

"We want to display the life-sized posters just like the ones in the front of the BX, but of staged apprehensions," he said.

Simmons also said an informational video now being planned will also relay the campaign's message.

Richard Coon, 902nd SFS law enforcement superintendent, asked meeting attendees to post fliers in their businesses and facilities "so we can reach out to the parents and the kids." He said the 902nd SFS unfortunately does not have the manpower to provide a constant presence in AAFES businesses.

"I'm asking for your help," he said.

Coon said the fliers will be updated with the current statistics and emailed on a quarterly basis.

"I'm asking each of you to please print them and post them where you think it will have the most impact for your kids," he said.

Coon said some of these young people just don't realize the negative impact of the crime they're committing.

"It is important that young folks hear the message before it's too late," he said. "If they continue doing this now, and they get to that age where they are adults, they may very well continue this later on in life."

Shoplifters caught stealing from AAFES could pay up to a $200 restocking fee. Shoplifters without a Department of Defense affiliation are banned from all of the JBSA installations for two years, while those with a DoD affiliation are banned for one year if the amount stolen is greater than $100 and a six-month revocation of AAFES or Defense Commissary Agency facility privileges if the amount stolen is less than $100.

Coon also said the effort at Randolph is a "launch effect" for Joint Base San Antonio. He said hopefully all three installations will have an identical process working with base community partners.

"I don't expect this to be 100 percent foolproof," he said of the campaign. "What I do see realistically is that we reduce the number of shoplifting incidents. That's what we're hoping for."