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At the Eagan outlet mall, shoplifting and alarms are keeping police busy

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The Eagan police department has been stretched thin since the Twin Cities Premium Outlets opened over the summer.

They've responded to a total of 630 calls there in the past five months – 103 of those involved shoplifting, according to a policing update, while 117 were for "alarm-burglar/hold."

Before the mall opened, Eagan police reassigned two officers from its traffic unit to patrol the mall and the surrounding area, the update notes.

With seven officers on duty at a time, that means a lot of resources are being used to patrol just that small area of the city, the Star Tribune says.

This has led to some major challenges for the department, especially when more than one officer is required to respond to a service call at the outlet mall, the update notes. Police say in some cases residents in the other parts of the city have received a delayed response in a nonemergency situation.

Because of this, the police department may look into hiring an additional officer, the Star Tribune reports, with Eagan Police Chief Jim McDonald saying much of the damage is being done by "organized groups of shoplifters."

Police say it's important to note statistically the Premium Outlets are safe – there have been no reported robberies, assaults or behavior threatening citizens – and the mall hasn't attracted more crime to the surrounding area.

In fact, the update says the number of service calls in that section of the city, not including the mall, have actually gone down compared to 2013 – a drop of 7.2 percent in 2014 compared to the year before.

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