As part of its 30th anniversary celebration and ongoing revitalization, the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention (NASP) has recently announced the addition of long-time industry leader Frank Johns; Sayreville, NJ Police Chief John Zebrowski; and veteran Elk Grove, CA Police Officer Julius Lewis to its advisory committee. A continuation of NASP efforts to connect retailers and communities, the addition of these community-centric leaders aims to further support collaborative efforts to reduce shoplifter recidivism, which, in addition to saving police and retail resources, will reduce ongoing theft activity and improve safety in stores and communities alike.
“Bringing on three community-minded leaders is not only invaluable to our organization, it is a vital part of our effort to help retailers connect with the wider community—to have more connection to and influence in the neighborhood—Zone 5 of LPRC’s zones of influence,” said NASP Executive Director Caroline Kochman. “It is a great privilege to have them aboard and an honor that they’ve agreed to help strengthen and enhance the use of shoplifting education in the community.”
Frank Johns, whose industry roots are in store operations, is a long-time proponent of finding a way to break the shoplifter cycle, especially with juveniles. “This is something that has been near and dear to my heart since my days at Mervyn’s, when I teamed up with NASP Founder Peter Berlin on an education program for youth that was offered in conjunction with civil demand,” said Johns. “I wanted to look at what can we do to stop the cycle of this whole thing. Parents were taken back that a retailer would say, ‘Hey, we are going to put some money into this because we want kids to stop.'” He added, “I would like to see stores start to do the same thing large scale and embrace the program, and publicize it, and say ‘Hey, we as an industry are out here to do this for the community.”
Chief Zebrowski, who is also a vice president with the NJ Association of Chiefs of Police, shared his thoughts on the changing landscape of criminal justice and the value of police/retail partnerships on misdemeanor retail crime. “Now more than ever, a strong partnership between law enforcement and the nation’s retail industry leaders is vital if we are to transform the punitive nature of the criminal justice system for low-risk offenders, offer progressive alternatives to the practice of interdiction and arrest and create a framework that is immediately accepted by the retail and law enforcement communities. It is essential this progressive format, when successfully implemented, greatly contributes to our mutual goal of reducing shoplifting recidivism. I proudly accept the invitation to be a member of the NASP advisory committee, and I am excited for the opportunities to collaborate with our retail partners.”
“My background in community-oriented policing and police diversion for shoplifting offenders, along with my volunteer work with youth in the community, continue to inform my interests,” said Officer Lewis. “Having successfully partnered with NASP for many years on Elk Grove’s juvenile diversion program, I look forward to opening lines of communication so retailers and law enforcement can accomplish more together than they can separately.”
NASP’s committee expansion will continue with the addition of other criminal justice and community leaders in a continuing effort to connect stakeholders as they work at adapting to the changing landscape of criminal justice reform, continually increasing felony thresholds and the unrelenting threat of unchecked shoplifting. NASP enters its next 30 years with a renewed commitment to changing the way our nation regards, prevents and responds to shoplifting.