Local shops record 5.6 million theft incidents over past year

UK local shops have recorded 5.6 million incidents of shop theft over the past 12 months, according to new research.

The Association of Convenience Stores’ (ACS) 2024 Crime Report found that during the period the total number of theft cases increased fivefold from the 1.1 million incidents recorded in the 2023 edition of its report – equating to around 600 reported incidents every hour.

Over the last year, ACS also found that violent incidents in shops rose to 76,000 compared to 41,000 in its 2023 report.

The association said that retailers are doing what they can to fight back by investing in crime prevention and detection measures, with research showing that £339 million was spent over the last year in areas like CCTV, security staff, intruder alarms and internal communication systems.

Other key findings in the report indicate that 87 per cent of shop workers in convenience stores have faced verbal abuse over the last year.

According to the data, two thirds of retailers believe the cost-of-living crisis has led to an increase in theft, while more than three quarters of retailers – 76 per cent – believe organised crime has become more prevalent over the last year.

Commenting on its report, ACS said: “The figures released today send a clear message to the government, local forces and police leaders that more action is needed.”

To support the “retail crime crisis”, ACS has suggested government take action to roll out effective sanctions for offenders, focus additional police resources on neighbourhood policing to keep communities safe, and support further investment in technology to deter and detect criminals.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) recently published similar research finding a 50 per cent increase in violent and abusive incidents on shop workers, with the total rising from 1,300 incidents per day in the 12 months to September 2023 compared to 870 daily cases in the previous year.

The Co-op also recently published a report which found there were 336,270 incidents of shoplifting, abuse, violence and anti-social behaviour across its 2,400 stores during 2023, up 44 per cent year-over-year and representing around 1,000 incidents every day across its 2,400 stores.

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