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While retail theft in the Penn patrol area has largely remained consistent since 2010, some stores have made headway in deterring the petty theft.

The “real winner” this year has been American Apparel, Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush said. The clothing store located at 3651 Walnut St. no longer appears on the Division of Public Safety’s list for top retail crime locations.

Rush accredited the improvement to American Apparel’s implementation of security guards this year. The key is the visibility of their security, she said, noting a general correlation between recognizable police presence and lower crime rates.

No one can know with absolute certainty “if a security guard or an Allied Barton guard walking down the street made someone not [steal],” but their presence works preventatively, added Rush.

“It’s kind of like your body. If you’re not sick, you take for granted that you’re healthy,” she explained.

Other stores, such as CVS on 39th and Walnut streets, also saw improvement since 2010. Although the number of thefts at CVS held at seven this year, all seven incidents at the convenience store resulted in arrests.

The Gap, located on 3423 Walnut St., and Wawa, located on 3744 Spruce St., were also taken off DPS’s list along with American Apparel.

Urban Outfitters at 110 S. 36th St. was the only retailer to face an increase in crime this year. In 2010, they had only four thefts with three arrests. Up until April of 2011, however, they have experienced a total of nine thefts — a year to date increase of 125 percent — with only five arrests.

Logistically, the store is simply harder to keep watch on, Rush explained. In comparison with stores like American Apparel, Urban Outfitters occupies a much larger space and is therefore a much larger area to keep track of potential thieves.

It is Urban Outfitters’ company policy to not employ security guards, according to Rush.

From a more sociological point of view, Rush explained that two types of crimes are visible in DPS’s retail theft statistics. Some of the reported thefts leans more toward what Rush described as “need” theft rather than “want” theft.

“It’s definitely a different crowd for each of these stores,” she added. “The ‘what I want’ crowd are going into Urban Outfitters, Eastern Mountain Sports, the Bookstore. The ‘what I need’ crowd are going into food places, CVS.”

“Generally, the people who are arrested at [Fresh Grocer and CVS] are of the older crowd, middle age,” Rush added. “Sometimes they are stealing things like food. Sadly, sometimes, they’re stealing baby formula or diapers.”

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