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Aurora City Council takes up proposal on jail time for shoplifters

A City Council committee will take up the proposed ordinance on Thursday.

AURORA, Colo. — An Aurora City Council committee will take up a proposal Thursday that could send people to jail for a minimum of three days if they steal from a store.

The proposal would apply to shoplifters convicted of taking more than $300 worth of merchandise. Aurora Police said retail thefts have gone up in the city and that officers think the crime is underreported because retail employees often don't engage with shoplifters.

Havana Street in Aurora is a hot spot for retail stores. It also draws the people who steal from them. Council member Danielle Jurinsky, who is introducing the proposed ordinance, said she's trying to keep shoplifters out of the area.

"Crime has just exploded, and I know it is a nationwide problem, but of course I can effect change and have impact in Aurora," she said.

Aurora Police said that retailers in the Havana Business District have expressed concern about their losses and the rise of thefts. The Police Department has met with big-box retailers there, and stores are providing officers with a list of their most frequent shoplifters.

Jurinsky said she thinks her proposal would deter more people from stealing products.

"At least putting them in jail for three days – hopefully it makes it uncomfortable enough for them that they want to stop," she said. 

This proposal comes after Aurora City Council approved a penalty for car thefts in July. That ordinance placed a 60-day mandatory sentence in jail for someone convicted of the crime.

"That had to be a collaborative effort with the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Department to hold people in jail for 60 days," Jurinsky said. "Our municipal jail can only hold people up to three days."

The Public Safety, Courts and Civil Service Police Committee will vote on the ordinance on Thursday. If passed, it will head to the full council for consideration at its next study session meeting on Sept. 19.

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