Each year the New Zealand retail sector loses $1 billion thanks to retail crimes and shoplifters. Now, Retail NZ is putting a call to arms towards to government to help prevent these crimes.
Close to $1.3 billion dollars a year is taken from New Zealand's economy by shoplifters, a number which has steadily been growing according to Statistics New Zealand.
The site claims that from September 2015 to the same time last year, there was a total of 23,187 reported retail theft related incidents.
Thanks to shoplifters and dishonest employees Retail NZ's discussion paper has said that government action and a three-point plan is needed.
Greg Harford, general manager of public affairs for Retail NZ, says retail crime is a serious problem that affects the whole economy.
“Retailers are already working to prevent and deter crime, but retail crime is growing, becoming more menacing and more violent.”
Organised retail crime is usually the most effective as crimes are taken out with a plan and end goal. But Retail NZ has proposed a three-point plan that revolves around creating a national retail crime task force with the police.
Harford says that police work the most effectively when there are resources available to help prevent these crimes before they happen.
“The establishment of a Retail Crime Task force within the Police would require dedicated funding and targets for retail crime reduction. We believe that this is an essential first step to ensuring that the Police is in a position to respond effectively to retail crime.”
Harford says that retail crime is part of a broader social problem relating to anti-social behavior. That stems from a belief in some parts of the community that it isn’t against moral to steal.
“We recognise that many people drift into organised crime gangs because they have been able to get away with petty theft without any consequences,” says Harford. “Prosecutions through the Courts are cumbersome, and we, therefore, propose the introduction of an infringement-style offense for petty theft. This will ensure that there are real consequences for people starting their life of crime, and act as a deterrent to repeat offending.”
So how can retailers minimise shoplifting in the meantime? Harford spoke to The Register March 2016 and supplied these tips towards store owners:
1) Have a store layout that allows employees to monitor customer activity around the store.
2) Have highly visible security measures and signs to alert would-be criminals that the security measures, such as CCTV, are in place.
3) Share information about suspicious activity with neighboring retailers and the Police.
"Retailers are already taking significant steps to manage crime, but we need Government support and social change to achieve fundamental improvements,” says Harford. “We're calling on the Government and all political parties to support our action plan for change".