Shoplifter arrested as police target retail crime

A 51-year old man was arrested yesterday in Alexandria, charged with three counts of shoplifting.

The arrest was made as part of a police investigation into shoplifting incidents occurring in Dunedin.

“This is unacceptable behaviour that causes financial damage to retailers,” Sergeant Derek Ealson said.

“Police and retailers can’t prevent opportunistic crime alone, and rely on the help of the community to shop this illegal activity and the social harm it causes.”

Sergeant Ealson went on to encourage members of the public to report suspicious behaviour in and around shops to store staff, security or police in an effort to prevent retail theft.

Retail crime on the rise

Earlier this year, a study found that a majority of retail crime in Australia and New Zealand is executed by customers, and that levels were rising.

The Australia and New Zealand retail crime survey found that the average reported crime-related losses in FY18 reached 0.92 per cent of revenue, which amounts to A$3.37 billion – and that 57 per cent of cases were perpetrated by customers.

This figure had grown 16 per cent in the space of two years.

Dr Emmeline Taylor, lead researcher and reader in criminology at City University of London said in a statement that the A$3.37 billion lost was enough to employ 85,000 supermarket checkout staff for a year.

“Many people think that retail crime is a victimless crime – that the large retailers build expected losses into their profit margin – but it couldn’t be further from the truth,” said Dr Taylor.

“Thieves are becoming more brazen. We have seen this in the recent “steaming” technique used by gangs to overpower mobile phone shops in broad daylight, often intimidating staff and pushing customers out of the way to reach the stock.”

According to the survey, 67 per cent of retailers struggle to combat shoplifters with their current resources.


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