MATTHEWS, N.C. — Retail stores in downtown Matthews are busy, especially during this time of year. As they are making money, police tell WCNC Charlotte it's the time of year when retail theft increases. That means police are watching and putting more officers out on the streets to stop this crime.
In Matthews, it's hard not to feel the holiday spirit. The Christmas decor is out in full force, and shops are bustling.
"We have had a good holiday season so far," Mark Frye, partner at Trade Street Jewelers, said.
Frye has been busy fixing jewelry and making custom pieces for his customers.
"I could serve five people a day or really big clients. It gets that way. As long as traffic is not that bad they are here," Frye said.
While he's working away, officers with the Matthews Police Department are looking out for criminals.
"Retail theft is a problem, it's very planned out. And this time of year, they try to get as many victims as they can during the shopping rush," Officer Tim Aycock said.
To help stop retail theft, Matthews Police is once again launching Operation Santa Knows, where they have more officers looking out for stores and shops.
"It’s a lot of overt and covert operations," Aycock said. "Obviously, we will have people in plainclothes, parking lot surveillance cameras, and with the loss prevention team at each retail location."
Last year was the first time conducting this operation. Matthews Police reported they were pretty successful, making 12 arrests and returning thousands of dollars back to retailers.
"We are doing what we can to deter, to solve those things if they occur," Aycock said.
Operation Santa Knows runs from December 4th through the 29th. Police also ask if you see something, say something and report any suspicious activity.
Contact Meghan Bragg at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.