Officers will no longer respond to shoplifting calls uptown, announced the Atlanta Police Chief.

“You can only do so much,” Erika Shields told local media. “We are going to change how we handle shoplifting calls, and primarily – for the most part – we will not be responding to them.”

“Every time we make a shoplifting arrest, that officer is out of service sixty to ninety minutes. It’s not acceptable.”

The decision is based on staff shortages of over 300 officers have prompted the Atlanta police to abandon shoplifting calls to focus more on serious crimes such as carjackings, rapes, and murders will better serve the city.

“Personally, I am not going to feel comfortable going to shop,” said Bucktown resident Roslyn Smith.

“It will alter my shopping habits if this does become a reality. Not feeling comfortable that I can enter a store without potentially my purse being grabbed.”

Shields stressed that retailers can still employ private security and prosecute shoplifting offenders.

“What I think is important the citizens understand is, there is nothing preventing these retailers from employing security, off-duty police, that can prosecute these individuals,” she said. “No one is asking them to not arrest these offenders.”

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