Insight: new study reveals shoplifting hotspots
A new study has revealed the most popular locations targeted by criminals for shoplifting in the past year.
Analysing the most recent official police data for England and Wales, LoveMyVouchers.co.uk found that the total number of shoplifting incidents in 2016 was up 7.6% from the previous year, with the recorded figure from January to December standing at 362,499.
When the results were weighted by population, Westminster was the area with the highest shoplifting rate. One incident was reported for every 58 people residing in the Westminster area. Notable hotspots included New Bond Street and the Regent Street area.
Other shopping areas with a high percentage of thefts by shoplifting included Middlesbrough, where one incident was reported per 64 people. This was followed by Newcastle with one incident per 65 people, and Norwich with one incident per 67 people.
The results show that the main hotspots in the UK tended to be shopping centres due to the concentrated number of shops and significant number of shoppers passing through. The shopping destination with the highest number of recorded incidents of shoplifting was Bluewater. One shoplifting crime was reported for every 39,000 visitors, based on an estimated annual footfall for the shopping centre of 28 million. Other shopping centres with high rates included the Stratford Centre and the Merry Hill Centre near Birmingham.
LoveMyVouchers.co.uk found that the Cleveland Police area had the highest shoplifting rate over any other police force in England and Wales as the number of incidents reported was high for such a small area. The main hotspots included the Marina in Hartlepool and the Cleveland Shopping Centre in Middlesbrough.
Linda Firth from LoveMyVouchers.co.uk said: "Shoplifting doesn't just affect the retailers, it also affects consumers as the losses are typically recouped through higher retail prices. With such a high portion of the population already struggling to make ends meet, the affect of increasing retail prices to account for the costs of shoplifting could have a significant impact on budgets."
The areas with the lowest shoplifting crime rates included Maldon where one incident was reported for every 1063 people in the population.
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