Coon Rapids is home to one of the biggest retail areas in Anoka County. And while Riverdale Village is rolling out the welcome mat to shoppers this holiday season, mall management is teaming up with police to crackdown on thieves.
"We have a lot of people who come from outside our border and they target our stores to commit thefts on a regular basis," Coon Rapids Police Chief John Stahnke said.
Just before Black Friday, Riverdale Village installed automatic license plate reader cameras at all six of its entrances.
"When a vehicle travels past one of those cameras and that vehicle is wanted by law enforcement, for instance it's a stolen vehicle or there's a wanted person in the vehicle, then our retail team gets notified," Stahnke said. "So far, they've been very effective and our team is really happy with them," Stahnke said.
"Considering 70% of thefts happen with a stolen vehicle, it's one of the great ways to stop thieves before it even happens," said Ryan Burke, senior property manager at Riverdale Village. Burke says the cameras have already helped track down thieves and prevented thefts.
"If the customers are safe, the store employees are safe, more people are going to come to shop, profits are better, less things are getting stolen, it's a benefit for everybody," Burke said.
Officers Steve Minion and Danielle Forsman, who work out of the police substation at Riverdale, walk the retail beat seven days a week, working closely with store managers and employees. Through the end of the year, additional police patrols will be deployed on weekends.
"We're just trying to do what we can to crackdown here in our community and send a message that we won't tolerate this behavior," Stahnke said.