Grand Forks Police Department
122 S. 5th Street
Grand Forks, ND 58201

Emergency: 911
Non-Emergency: 701-787-8000
Business hours: M-F, 8 to 5 pm
Press 1: General Information
Press 2: Dispatch Center
Press 3: GF County Jail
701-780-8253 (FAX)

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Seminars Available
Shoplifting Prevention

    Shoplifting Prevention for Retailers

    Grand Forks Police Department
    Community Resource Bureau

    How Big of a Concern is Shoplifting

    Shoplifting in Grand Forks, North Dakota is covered under "Larceny Thefts" when reviewing Department Statistics. In 2000 there were 1,771 larceny thefts, which equates to 4.8 thefts/day. 1999 there were 1,884 larceny thefts, equaling 5.1 thefts/day. 1998 there were 2400 larceny thefts equaling 6.5 thefts/day. These statistics show ONLY what is reported to Police Department.

    Prevention Measures:

    The majority of Crime Prevention measures are just good business practices. Implementing the following practices does not guarantee your business will never be the victim of shoplifting, however they will deter shoplifters from targeting your store.
    • Position cash registers near the entrance/exit.
    • Aisles should allow for natural surveillance from the registers.
    • Small items should be kept in a locked display case.
    • Make eye contact and welcome customers into your store.
    • Utilize surveillance mirrors to view blind spots in your store.
    • Develop an aggressive program to prosecute shoplifters, ensure employees are aware of the policy.
    • Advertise that shoplifters will be prosecuted.
    • Contact your local Police Department for further training.
    Help the Grand Forks Police Department Help you prevent crime!

    Detecting Shoplifters:

    The best way to detect a shoplifter is by being observant. Your observation skills must be developed over time and will improve only with practice. Be sure not to stereotype certain people, shoplifters come from every age, race and social class.
    • Watch for individuals with bulky clothing, especially wearing heavy coats out of season.
    • Watch for customers that spend more time observing other shoppers and clerks, than they do looking at merchandise.
    • Watch for distractions, one customer may keep your attention while the other customer pockets an item.
    • Keep store shelves "fronted", missing items are easily identified.
    • Watch for customers that carry items around and then go into remote areas of the store.
    • Check larger items at the checkout to ensure smaller items are not concealed inside.
    *Shoplifters may use newspapers, bags, backpacks, strollers and other items to conceal merchandise.

    North Dakota Statutes Regarding Shoplifting:

    NDCC #51-21-02: Any person concealing upon his person or among his belongings, unpurchased merchandise and removing it to a point beyond the last station for payment is considered primary evidence that the person intended to steal the item.

    NDCC #51-21-03: Any Peace Officer or merchant who reasonably believes that a person has committed or is committing theft may detain such person on or off the premises of the retail store, in a reasonable manner and for a reasonable length of time to ascertain the following information:
    • To require the person to identify themselves.
    • To verify such identification.
    • To determine whether such person has in their possession unpurchased merchandise and to recover such merchandise.
    NDCC #51-21-04: Any peace officer or merchant who detains any person as permitted under section 51-21-03 may not be held civilly or criminally liable for any claim for relief allegedly arising from such detention.

    NDCC #51-21-05: An adult who commits the offense of theft from a merchant is civilly liable to the merchant for the retail value of the merchandise, plus exemplary damages of not more that two hundred fifty dollars, costs of suit, and reasonable attorney’s fees. The parent or legal guardian of a minor that commits the offense of theft may also be civilly liable as described above, unless the minor specifically committed the theft in an attempt to cause the parent or guardian to be liable under this section.

    The information described in these statute synopsis, was paraphrased for this pamphlet. For a complete copy of the statutes contact your Ward Officer at the Community Resource Bureau.

    For more information or training call the Community Resource Bureau of the Grand Forks Police Department at:


    Grand Forks Police Department
    Community Resource Bureau