HONOLULU (KHON2) — The lack of workers is hitting retailers especially hard as they deal with more security problems. Stores are taking extra measures to prevent theft.

Less staffing inside stores makes it even harder to keep an eye out for shoplifters. A spokesperson for the industry says stores are trying everything to attract workers.

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“There’s bonuses, they ask if you have friends or family who’s interested to come working here. They’re looking at all different ways just to get the employees to come,” said Tina Yamaki, president of Retail Merchants of Hawaii.

She adds that thieves tend to figure out when it is best to make their move. Retailers like City Mill discourage theft by making it difficult to walk away with popular items by locking them up.

“Unfortunately, they’re taking all kinds of things, things that historically we would lock up. Now we have to lock up even more items, so it’s a challenge,” said Steven Ai, president of City Mill.

The idea is to prevent anyone from grabbing some of the more expensive items. So if anybody pulls one of them and walks away with it, an alarm goes off.

At Big Island Candies, staff take an unconventional approach to prevent theft by offering up samples.

“Just asking if they want to try something just staying with them and conversing with them. Hopefully that will deter them from stealing,” said Lance Duyao, director of retail operations at Big Island Candies.

“So it’s worked pretty well?” KHON2 asked.

“Absolutely,” said Duyao.

Retailers add that customers can help by quietly reporting if someone is stealing. HPD says it is always best to avoid any confrontation, especially for small mom and pop shops. Also, invest in a good security camera system and install them strategically.

“Preferably at eye level to capture people’s faces, that always helps. That’s always been a great tool for us to identify offenders and track them down,” said HPD Deputy Chief Keith Horikawa.

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He adds that smaller shops can also work together the same way neighborhood watch groups have to prevent crime. HPD’s community policing team can work with businesses to set them up.