After brazen thefts, local businesses contracting with Fresno Police for extra security

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- You've probably seen the viral videos of brazen thefts at Fresno's Apple and Lululemon stores where employees passively watch as their shelves are emptied. Those businesses are no longer idly standing by.

"It's highly unlikely that someone in their right mind would commit a crime in front of a police officer because they know that would led them going to jail," said Lt. Mark Hudson with Fresno Police.

More than 18 businesses, from Walmart to Fashion Fair Mall, now contract with Fresno police. Apple and Lululemon are the latest customers. Officers say their ability to immediately call for backup resources and make arrests makes them extremely valuable and popular.

'They can immediately start an investigation, there is a big deterrent factor," said Lt. Hudson.

Private security companies are also seeing an increase in sales. Nick Perez is the CEO of Central California Private Security. He says it's important the guards you use are proactive in stopping crime.

"Greet everybody friendly. Good afternoon, how you doing. Just by that interaction you kind of know somebody's intention," said Perez.

Police say Proposition 47 fuels many of these repeat offenders, because you can no longer be charged with a felony for committing multiple petty thefts. They say armed security is often the only way to stop these criminals.

"We are hands on, we will make arrests where other companies don't allow that," said Perez. "Other companies will have them observe and report and call the cops."

Perez says his business has increased by 30 percent this year. Even police say sometimes they can't meet the demand.
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