DALLAS (AP) — A newspaper has found that a policy making it harder for Dallas store owners to report shoplifting cases under $50 is responsible for nearly a third of the city’s 12 percent drop in overall crime.

The policy began Jan. 5 and means police typically don’t respond to, or take reports for, shoplifting cases under $50.

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Businesses instead print an online form and mail it to police.

The Dallas Morning reported Sunday that Police Chief David Brown says the drop is due to authorities’ crackdown on fencing stolen goods.

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But the News found the drop in shoplifting cases occurred the same day the policy took effect and before a police focus on fencing began.

Under the policy, minor shoplifting offenses have fallen from about 10 per day to under three.

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