High Streets Initiative · 30 May 2018

Infographic: Shoplifting has risen 4% since last year with 370,000 crimes being reported

Shoplifting can be very damaging to retail businesses if left untackled.

Shoplifting comes at a pricey expense for retailers, as recent research shows that out of the £700m costs of retail crime, 71% is induced by stealing (British Retail Consortium).

As part of a new study, OnBuy.com investigated the number of shoplifting crimes recorded by 42 police forces across England and Wales from April 2017 to March 2018.

The highest shoplifting rates were in London with 46,840 incidents reported to the Metropolitan Police, the equivalent to 128 cases per day. In second place was the West Midlands, with offences racking up to 19,851.

Whereas, the lowest number of retail thefts reported were to Dyfed-Powys Police at 1,861. However, they did receive the biggest year-on-year increase at 21% from the financial year before.

Commenting on the rise in shoplifting, Cas Paton, managing director of OnBuy.com said: “It’s a crime which is financially burdening retailers. It’s unfortunate because many owners spend a lot of time, money and energy ensuring all aspects of their operations are running effectively and efficiently.

“Whilst shoplifting may seem difficult to prevent, there are certain cost-effective precautions retailers can take to deter shoplifters from targeting them.

“Precautions such as training employees to identify the behaviours associated with shoplifters and appropriate signage to warn potential offenders about the seriousness of the matter.”

To aid retailers OnBuy, has offered four tips to reduce the likelihood of shoplifting at retail businesses.

How to reduce and prevent shoplifting in your business

Value organisation

Stock products on shelves in an organised and identifiable manner. In doing so, it will allow you to easily spot if anything has gone missing. If you don’t have the time or manpower to continually re-stock and take an inventory, then push products to the front of shelves to create a solid wall.

Establish presence

Have one employee always at the front of the store to greet customers as they come in. This will be a clear indication to any potential shoplifter(s) that staff are aware of who has entered the shop and consistently aware of their behaviours/actions throughout the premises.

Understand behaviour

Train employees to spot the behaviours which are typically exhibited by potential shoplifters. Some of these consist of: being in the same aisle for a long period of time, spending more time watching the cashier than shopping, wearing heavy/bulky clothing when it is warm outside, repeatedly looking around when picking up items and carrying an unusually large bag/purse.

Utilise signage

Make sure you have plenty of signs throughout the store which clearly state, “shoplifters will be prosecuted” and “all products under surveillance”. These signs will send a message to any opportunistic shoplifters that you take the matter very seriously and will take the appropriate actions if someone is caught committing a shoplifting crime.

*City of London Police not included in the research due to incomplete shoplifting data from the period of April 2017-March 2018.

Local shopkeepers hit with almost one million thefts in a year

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Carly Hacon is a reporter for Business Advice. She has a BA in journalism from Kingston University, and has previously worked as a features editor for a local newspaper.

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