MENTOR, Ohio (WJW) — As we hit the holiday season, shopping comes to mind for a lot of us, even for our local law enforcement.

The city of Mentor is one of the top retail destinations in the state, netting their economy around $1.9 billion a year in sales. That’s why Mentor Police Captain Mike Majernik said his team is turning to their retail theft deterrence program to protect shoppers. 

“We want to make sure our businesses feel safe as well as our people feel safe when they shop,” Majernik said. 

Since 2014, Mentor police have used some simple but efficient moves to catch retail theft quickly. This includes deploying plain-clothed officers and patrolling parking lots in marked cars.

The program has proven to be a huge success.

“When we first started it, it was a grassroots effort. We had other departments calling us from as far as Louisiana to develop a program similar to ours,” Majernik said. 

Majernik has a message for the community regarding this year’s holiday season.

“Don’t come to Mentor to steal, we are going to get you. One way or the other, we want people to know you are safe in Mentor to shop during the holidays,” he said.

Mentor police also wanted to point out that thieves are usually looking to steal high-value items, so make sure you are careful not to leave those items in plain sight in your car.