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News - 18 January 2008

BID Security saves Brighton traders thousands of pounds

The Brighton BID Security Team has returned £7000 worth of stolen goods, displaced 50 known offenders and cut theft by an estimated 50% in the Unique Brighton area in the last year.

The BID security team has been out patrolling the streets of Unique Brighton and protecting customers for over a year now and it is clear that they are making a measurable difference. Many shops have already recouped their BID levy for the year and the others are benefiting from the deterrent effect, which is also measurable.

In November the guards worked in harmony with the security guard at Boots to intercept a shoplifter leaving the store with £735 worth of stolen goods. The thief was well known to the guards being a repeat offender and has also been caught on camera stealing from Lavender Rooms and Badger in Bond Street in the last month.

On being stopped the thief handed over her bag containing virtually nothing but stolen goods. Her stash comprised mainly brand name perfumes and cosmetics picked out more or less randomly as she moved through the store.

The offender will be charged in due course but is currently out on bail so it is important that the BID guards maintain a tight surveillance while she is still at large. Keeping someone like this out of the BID area will save traders hundreds of pounds and it is likely that this person will give the guards a wide berth in future.

It has become quite obvious that known offenders are steering clear of the area. According to Lisa Perretta, crime manager at the Business Forum, “This deterrent effect is something that we can measure. The Business Crime Reduction Partnership keeps records of all reported sightings of known offenders throughout the city. It is estimated that of the 50 most prolific offenders who were operating on a daily basis in the BID area almost all have been displaced.” The BCRP would have recorded sightings of these people several times a day initially and now they are likely to be spotted less than once a week on average in the BID area.

The uniformed presence has also had an interesting effect on another well-known shoplifter. This particular character will now stop in his tracks when he meets the guards, as if to say ‘it’s a fair cop’ and he will hand over stolen goods. This even happens on occasions when the guards have not been alerted to the theft and are surprised but no less delighted to receive the goods that they can then return to the shops.

These known offenders are of course moving to other parts of town and many have been seen frequently in London Road, New Road and Jubilee Street.

The reduction in the number of shoplifters in the area does have a significant bearing on retail business. Not all traders are aware of how much is saved by cutting shrinkage because they don’t all measure this in the first place. But one retailer has estimated that shrinkage has fallen from 4.65% to 1.9% thanks to the added security presence. For a large retailer this could represent savings of tens of thousands of pounds and for a smaller trader with a turnover of just £500,000 it could mean a saving of £2000 - £3000 over a year.

Read related items on:
Brighton and Hove
Anti-social behaviour
Community safety
Crime prevention
Brighton & Hove Business Forum
Perretta, Lisa

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