Theft in Chico has been happening for a long time and that's not a surprise to anyone, but now the Downtown Chico Business Association, the chamber of commerce, and the police department are coming together to hopefully put an end to shoplifting through a program called Retail Watch.
The groups, along with business owners and the Chico Police Department will have monthly meeting where they can come together and share ideas about what to do.
“One business, for example, said they lost 40,000 individual item per year. Another business said they lost almost $50,000 in makeup alone,” said Chico chamber of commerce president Katie Simmons.
She says it's time to finally put an end to thefts because it causes a huge economic impact.
Businesses have to compensate for the losses somehow, and she said that often results in either the loss of jobs or raising the prices.
Bob Malowney has owned Bird in Hand for 46 years.
“Attempts at theft are brazen and shocking, and anything we can do to help would be nice,” he said.
That's where the retail watch program comes in. Once a month, retailers of all sizes can come together and, with the help of the police department, share ideas and come up with solutions of how to end it.
“It's amazing, and it's hard for me to even describe being in these meetings. The lightbulbs that go on for people and it's not something we can even intentionally create, it just happens when people start talking to each other.
Malowney has been to one of the meetings and agreed that collaboration of ideas is very helpful.
“It had to be stopped and it has to be pushed back the other way, and I think it's got that momentum.”
Simmons said it’s also nice to have the police department to just even help people understand what their rights as business owners are.
The meeting are once a month, and so far more than 30 businesses have come together for the preliminary round table discussions.
Simmons said she knows this won’t put an end to the overall problem right away, but she’s hoping that within 6 months to a year the overall economic impact of shoplifting will go down.
If you'd like to go to the next one, you will have to RSVP by calling the chamber of commerce.