The Nation: Tis the Season To Be Wary

There are 18 shoplifting days till Christmas

Montgomery Ward has remodeled its spacious outlet in Skokie, Ill., installing new surveillance posts that blend into the décor. Observation towers are disguised as structural supports; protruding mirrors along a wall conceal guards who scan the throngs of shoppers crowding the aisles. Retailers around the country are taking similar security measures. Reason: business is booming in the weeks before Christmas, but so is shoplifting.

Shoppers who neglect to pay for their merchandise are criminals for all seasons, and their numbers are increasing at an alarming rate. The FBI reports more than 600,000 shoplifting arrests across the...

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