Many shoplifters formerly targeting Farragut and Turkey Creek seem to be finding increased patrol too hot to handle this holiday season.
Knox County Sheriff’s Office Organized Retail Crime Task Force has increased its presence along Parkside Drive and elsewhere in Town, said Lee Tramel, KCSO chief of operations.
Moreover, KCSO’s presence may become stronger in early 2018.
With a revamp of KCSO patrol zones, Tramel said, “Now, the Town of Farragut would have its own patrol officer on a beat. He will have back up, but we are going to have more people on the street in January than we ever had.
“Farragut is going to be its own zone,” he added. “We are going to redo our patrol zones. That means Farragut will have an officer patrol shift assigned to Farragut.
“Like right now, a patrol officer might be in Farragut and then he might travel north of the Interstate — over toward Hardin Valley and [nearby] places,” he added. “That might be his patrol beat.”
Farragut is no longer a “hot spot,” attracting thieves, Tramel said. “We attribute [the task force’s presence] to significantly lowering the numbers of cases in Turkey Creek and Farragut.
“Add to that, our West Precinct [in Turkey Creek], which offers a larger officer presence year round, we think it is displacing a lot of crime and contributing to the lower numbers [of shoplifting],” he added.
Between Nov. 20 and Dec. 12, Tramel said 12 shoplifting/retail theft arrests were made in Farragut.
As of mid-December, KCSO has made 586 arrests for shoplifting and retail theft in Knox County this calendar year — 50 of those in Farragut, he added.
“We are seeing our numbers [of thefts] in Farragut decrease a little bit, and I think that’s because of our presence and the job we have done in the past highlighting this area we are concentrating in,” Tramel said. “I think that’s a good thing. It shows us what we’re doing is working.”
The measures taken to decrease shoplifting also includes retailers working with the task force as part of a loss prevention group, Tramel added. “Those folks work really well with us. The retailers know we are out here in force, and they really feed us a lot of great information.”