Spiralling crime could render some communities 'no go' areas for retailers, says Co-op

Some communities could become "no-go" areas for shops due to spiralling levels of retail crime, Co-op has warned.

New research from the grocer claims that retail crime has surged to record levels throughout the cost-of-living crisis, with repeat offenders and criminal gangs operating exempt from consequences.

With a 35 per cent year on year increase, Co-op said it has been recording the highest ever levels of retail crime, with almost 1,000 shoplifting and anti-social behaviour occurrences each day in the six months to June.

From a freedom of information request, Co-op also found that many police forces do not prioritise retail crime and that 71 per cent of serious retail crime is not responded to by police.

“We know retail crime is driven by repeat and prolific offenders and organised criminal gangs," said Co-op food managing director Matt Hood. "It is an ongoing challenge for all retailers, and in the worst instances can even be described as ‘looting.’”

“I see first-hand how this criminal behaviour also erodes the very fabric of our communities - it’s hard to over-emphasise how important urgent change is,” he added.

Co-op noted that where clear co-operation around the issue exists, it is making a difference.

Given its work with a number of forces including Nottinghamshire, Co-op said inroads have been made in tackling persistent and prolific offenders, with 17 prolific offenders having been removed off the streets, with a combined 5.6 years of custodial sentences, and a further 13 repeat offenders given a Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO) or rehabilitation, through close collaboration.

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