Record levels of shop theft have been committed against convenience retailers within the last year, according to new ACS figures.
The trade body’s voice of local shops survey of over 1,200 independent retailers has shown the ‘theft index’ (the net percentage of retailers saying that theft has increased in their business) has reached a record level of +26, compared to a previous high of +25 in May 2012.
A total of 63% of independent retailers reported that theft in their businesses had either increased (35%) or stayed the same (28%) over the last year, with just 9% reporting a decrease in the levels of shop theft.
Chief executive, James Lowman said: “We are extremely concerned about the continued increase in theft levels in local shops. Retailers tell us that the vast majority of incidents are committed by repeat offenders, usually well known in the area, that are stealing high value items like meat, coffee, alcohol and household/beauty products to then sell on, either as part of an organised crime group or to fund a substance addiction.
“Theft is not a victimless crime, it takes an enormous financial and personal toll on the retailers that are trying to run a business in their communities. Theft is also the biggest single trigger for abuse of colleagues and violent incidents in stores.
“We need targeted action to stop the repeat offenders that are stealing on a regular basis without any concern about being apprehended by the police.”
Across the UK, London retailers are the worst affected, with 48% of retailers surveyed saying that theft has increased over the last year. This compares to 28% of retailers in the Northeast who reported an increase in theft, the lowest of any UK region.
Figures from the ACS’ 2022 Crime Report showed that convenience stores spent over £246m in the previous year on crime prevention measures like CCTV, security staff and alarm systems.
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