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News - 12 October 2006

Shop crime reaches 'plague' proportions

Plans to "downgrade" the crime of shoplifting (see earlier story in Knowledgebase) were attacked today as new figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) reveal that retail crime has soared by 70% in six years, despite retailers spending £4.3bn on crime prevention.

According to the BRC’s 2006 retail crime survey crime cost retailers £2.1bn last year and has cost a total of £13.4bn since 2000 when the costs of prevention are included.

The report reveals that thieves take an average of £149 worth of goods each time they shoplift. It argues that police priorities are elsewhere and "soft" penalties are failing to deter them. Worryingly, as the incidence of shoplifting increases, so does violence against staff, the survey warns. Sixty per cent of violent incidents in stores occur when staff confront shoplifters.

Of the cost to retailers in the UK last year, £1.43bn was the value of losses from crime and the rest from crime prevention. Shoplifted goods accounted for £767m.

However, despite the increases in retail crime, the government's sentencing advisory panel has proposed removing prison sentences for persistent shoplifters. The BRC is calling on the government to reject the proposals.

BRC director general Kevin Hawkins said: "The government's failure to plan prison capacity is no excuse for giving a licence to steal ... Shoplifting is an entry-level crime, which leads to more dangerous criminal activities."

In Brighton one of the principle projects of the recently formed city centre Business Improvement District (BID) is on street security which will also assist BID levy payers in their premises. It goes live in early November and will operate seven days per week for 364 days per year.

The Business Forum also operates one of the most successful Business Crime Reduction Partnerships in the country with well over 300 members. Click on the Crime icon on the left hand side of this page for details of its work and an application form to join or ring Lisa Perretta or Dorothy O’Rourke on 01273 733393

Read related items on:
Brighton and Hove
Retail, pubs, clubs and restaurants
Business Crime Reduction Partnership
Crime prevention
British Retail Consortium
Hawkins, Kevin
Perretta, Lisa

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