Merchants get tool for solving robberies

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 14, 2008

FRANKLIN—The Downtown Franklin Association is working with the city’s police department to give merchants another weapon in their fight against crime.

The association is distributing special stickers for merchants to put on their door frames to help them give better descriptions of perpetrators in case of robbery.

Victor Story of Vic’s Signs and Engraving on Fourth Avenue designed the red, yellow and green strips to be easily read by rattled employees or recorded by store cameras.

The idea is to help give merchants a way to more accurately describe people who commit crimes inside their stores, said Sgt. Ron McClenny of the Franklin Police Department.

During police investigations, he said, victims’ descriptions of perpetrators can vary by as much as a foot and are influenced by everything from the height of the victims to whether they are standing or sitting at the time of the robbery.

&uot;Everybody is real receptive to it,&uot; he said of DFA’s new push to distribute the stickers. &uot;They want them.&uot;

The association meets monthly, and as the police department’s liaison with the merchants’ group, &uot;When they ask for something, I try to put it in motion for them,&uot; McClenny said.

Police and merchants share the credit for coming up with the idea for the height stickers, McClenny and DFA President Jack Norvell said Thursday.

&uot;We’re open to ideas and suggestions of anything we can do to improve security downtown,&uot; Norvell said.

Facing a string of downtown burglaries in recent months and mindful of a brutal robbery at Liberty Coin a couple of years ago, McClenny said, the new stickers are just part of the police and community’s response to crime that affects both merchants and shoppers in the city.

Story has made and donated 30 to 40 of the stickers and said he is ready to make more, if they are needed. Merchants can call the DFA at 562-6900 to request their own stickers.

Story and Norvell will install each of the stickers personally &uot;so everything will be reading right,&uot; Story said.