Hard alcohol soon will be available at grocery and other retail stores, and Kennewick police are offering a special shoplifting and robbery prevention seminar to help employees be prepared.
"To be honest, we don't know what to expect," said Mike Blatman, Kennewick police's crime prevention specialist. "It's a total unknown. We have no reference point to look at to see if we're going to have increase in robberies or shoplifting because we have hard alcohol on the floor."
Right now there are only two locations that sell hard liquor by the bottle, but soon there may be 15. It's not clear yet where the stores are going to put the hard alcohol -- behind a counter or if the area where the liquor is will be staffed in a certain way, he said.
"We don't usually have 17-, 18, 19-year-olds grabbing wine and running out the door," he said. "Will they now, that they have the opportunity to go in and grab a bottle of rum or vodka or whiskey?"