MNPD uses precision policing to stop organized retail crime on the West Side

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – West Nashville is home to some of the largest shopping centers in Music City. Add in some of the city’s busiest thoroughfares and you’ve discovered a prime area for retail theft.

“The Western Constituency is one of the largest geographic constituencies in terms of total area. We have about 108 square miles. We have a lot of commercial areas on the West Side and major thoroughfares that run through them,” said Cmdr. Lee Kendall, who oversees the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department’s (MNPD) West Precinct.

The Nashville West Mall features 86 acres and countless stores, and for those looking to shoplift, they could easily view it as full of opportunity.

“There’s more opportunity and the criminal element or organized crime, which is exactly what they’re looking for, is opportunity. They’re looking for communication routes that they can use as escape routes, and they’re just looking for easy targets,” Kendall explained.

With big box stores on every corner of the mall, police tracked down the most expensive items.

“We see a lot of repeat offenders who are targeting stores, primarily looking for clothing in some box stores, but I would say mostly clothing,” Kendall said.

What happens next in this type of crime and where do these clothes go?

“In organized retail crime, we see a lot of items placed on Facebook Marketplace to sell them that way, or they may go to a place where they know they have buyers who will buy at a lower price” , Kendall explained. .

These thieves use ways to market stolen items online and target specific brands and models to attract people on social media. This leads some innocent social media shoppers to unknowingly purchase stolen goods.

“We have had incidents where the suspects who committed the crime, when they were fleeing, tried to run over the loss prevention personnel or even the police officers who were on scene and who they were going to apprehend, so they are very reckless in their behavior and they are a danger to the community,” Kendall said.

The National Retail Federation found that 88% of retailers say shoplifters are more aggressive and violent than a year ago, and some now use other methods to distract and escape.

“What we mostly see in our big box stores is we’ll see three to five come in together; they work together; they can have children, and they use those children even as a lure or a distraction, and then they commit crimes. They think they got away with it, but they’re filmed all the time; Lost Prevention knows them and the list is that of repeat offenders,” Kendall explained.

Now, the MNPD’s concern goes beyond just retail crime.

Kendall explained that shoplifting can serve as a “gateway to other crimes.”

“We found shoplifters who were in a stolen car and committed a vehicle crime, a felony, simply for the purpose of committing this crime of shoplifting, which can be a felony if the amount exceeds a certain amount,” he said.

MNPD used technology and precision policing to learn about suspects and the area. They are confident that these thieves will be arrested.

“It’s really a very strong team effort and focus right now, very precise, and they’re not going to get away with it,” Kendall said.