Despite national trends pointing toward Black Friday as a target for shoplifting, Richmond's statistics over the past few years indicate that there are fewer instances of the crime on Black Friday.

"Thefts on Black Fridays are on average 2 percent higher, according to an analysis of thousands of theft claims by insurance company Travelers over the past seven years," a Fortune 500 article from 2015 reports. "When the claims are broken down into off-premise thefts -- meaning thefts that happen away from homes -- Black Friday thefts are 28 percent higher than any other day."

According to statistics, video game thefts are 42 percent higher on Black Friday than other Fridays, the Fortune 500 article states. Toys are another common target of Black Friday thefts, with three times the amount of toys being stolen that day versus other Fridays.

But in Richmond, that's not the case, according to Richmond Assistant Chief of Police Rodney Richardson.

"For 2016, just in the month of November, we had 51 shoplifting arrests," Rodney said. "On Black Friday, we only had one." Then in 2017, there were only two shoplifting arrests on Black Friday.

He attributed the lower number to action the stores take to prevent more shoplifting.

"Walmart, for example, hires our officers to actually work security," Richardson said. "But I think a lot of stores bring in a lot of loss prevention, too. They take their own steps."

Richardson mentioned Walmart again, saying the store always has security and loss prevention checking shoppers' receipts as they leave the store. On the other hand, because the police department is aware that more people will be out shopping Thanksgiving evening and Friday morning, more officers will be out and about.

"Do we still have arrests on Black Friday? Yes, but they're not significant," he said.

However, they're a little more significant in Berea, according to Jake Reed, public information officer with the Berea Police Department.

"We usually do see a slight increase in shoplifters during the holiday season, not specifically Black Friday, but the whole holiday season," he said.

But he said it isn't a big increase in the amount of shoplifting.

"We have seen a slight uptick within the past several years," he said. "We just take the calls as they come in."

Reed added that not everyone who is arrested on charges of shoplifting give a reason, but some do say they are stealing something to give as a gift.

"I'm sure there are a few who are stealing gifts, but shoplifting is a constant problem that we deal with year round," he said. "I'm sure there are others who are stealing just because the stores are busier, and they think there's a better chance at getting away with it."

Reach Sara Kuhl at 624-6626; follow her on Twitter @saraekuhl.

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