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NOBLESVILLE, Ind. — As holiday shopping gets underway, police say they see an increase in cases of shoplifting and fraud.

In order to try and get ahead of the problem, the Noblesville Police Department launched its new Business Watch program. The program is designed to open lines of communication with area businesses and provide training on how to prevent crime.

“We just want to create that partnership in that line of communication for the local businesses to reach out to us and specifically so we have that direct contact,“ Sgt. Greg Kehl said.

Kehl says the program will allow them to build up contacts with local shops. He says those could come in handy if something were to happen after hours.

“We just want to get ahead of the game and be proactive with helping out the community and the local businesses with prevention and detection,” Kehl said.

The program is voluntary and businesses that participate will receive periodic information from police on crime trends that are relevant to them. It’s something some business owners say they could really use.

“If there’s a situation, I don’t necessarily know if I need to catch them in the act, and videotape in the act or am I allowed to chase him down the street,” Kari Kirk, owner of Karisma boutique, said. “Those are the things I don’t know if I’m legally allowed to do.“ 

Kirk has owned her shop in downtown Noblesville for 16 years. She says she doesn’t see a lot of crime happening in her shop or others but would like to be prepared.

“I would like to know any knowledge in case something like that comes up because I don’t know for certain if I would even know how to approach something or somebody in the moment,” Kirk said.

Noblesville Police are working this week on outreach and getting businesses signed up.

If you’re interested in the program, you can find more information or sign up here.