Concerns grow over rise in shop theft
A new survey has revealed that UK retailers are fighting a rising tide of in-store theft as stealing from shops becomes more sophisticated and well planned.
Figures released by the British Retail Consortium show that theft reached its highest level for nine years in 2013 with the average value of theft increasing by 62% to £177 per incident.
BRC director general Helen Dickinson said: "Theft from stores pushed the direct cost of retail crime up to £511 million last year, 166% higher than five years ago. Far from being victimless, we all pay for this increased stealing through higher prices and, increasingly, shop closures and damage to town centres as safety is reduced and communities are blighted.
"Last year we also saw a dramatic increase in fraud and e-crime with eight in ten retailers reporting a rise in fraud and the majority of retailers telling us that cyber-attacks pose a critical threat to their business. Combined with the increase in organised theft, this means that retailers are facing an increasingly sophisticated criminal.”
The BRC said theft rates had increased despite retailers investing an average of £2 million each in crime and loss prevention. The organisation argues that retailers need more help and support in preventing crime and has suggested that Police and Crime Commissioners should follow the lead set in London and work with retailers to build dedicated business crime strategies to help defeat the growing problem.
Dickinson added:"We want to work closely with Police and Crime Commissioners and the new National Crime Agency and National Cyber Crime Unit to fight this serious crime, from fraud, to theft, to cyber-attacks. Our engagement has been positive so far, but it is still early days and it is important that they implement measures such as single points of contact and create dedicated business crime strategies."
The BRC survey recommends that there should be a single, national, definition for business crime in the UK with police forces routinely publishing business crime data, sharing it with retailers and working in partnership with them to combat crime.
Dickinson added: “These changes will not only fight crime, but also boost confidence and help to tackle the underreporting problem that led to only one in ten thefts being reported last year.”
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