Crimes against Washington-area retailers cost more than $500 million last year. A story in yesterday's Business & Finance section gave an incorrect figure.

For the first time in 12 years, shoplifting and bad-check passing have declined, Washington area retailers reported yesterday. At the same time, Woodward and Lothrop revealed that it will deploy seeing-eye mannequins to spot shoplifters.

Shoplifting decreased 2 percent for the year ending July 31, and bad-check writing decreased 3 1/2 percent, according to Robert J. Mulligan, chairman of the retail bureau of the Greater Washington Board of Trade and vice chairman of Woodward & Lothrop. It was the first time in the dozen years in which the Board of Trade has been conducting its antishoplifting campaign that the figures had gone down.

The bad news was that credit-card fraud increased 4 percent. In all, the three crimes against area retailers cost more than half a million dollars, which retailers estimated added $300 to each shopper's bill for the year.

The Board of Trade unveiled this year's poster and slogan -- "Shoplifting . . . writing bad checks . . . credit card fraud . . . Three ways to ruin your future."

Woodies' corporate vice president for "asset protection," Lewis C. Shealy, said that, beyond slogans, the department store chain will rely on a new device, mannequins equipped with closed-circuit televisions to peer at shoppers through the mannequins' eyes.

Depending on whether you are in the junior girls' department or the young men's department, big sister or big brother may be watching you.