RETAIL IRELAND, the Ibec group that represents the retail sector has today published a new retails crime survey that reveals that shoplifting, robberies and fraud are on the rise.
More than half of retailers say they have experienced increased levels of crime in the last two years, with over half a billion euro (€512 million) in stock being stolen in total each year.
Retail Ireland has called for a “more pro-active and collaborative approach” from Gardaí and retailers, saying that those caught shoplifting should bear the full brunt of the law.
The survey of 33 retail companies, which have over 800 shops and employ over 67,500 people around the country, found:
- 52 per cent of retailers have experienced an increase in crime in the last two years
- Nearly half of retailers (49 per cent) have experienced theft of cash from their premises
- 82 per cent have suffered from shoplifting, with 39 per cent experiencing theft of stock from employees
- Over a third (36 per cent) have experienced refund fraud and almost half (46 per cent) have experienced credit card or cheque fraud
- Just under one in three (30 per cent) have experienced criminal damage
- One in three (33 per cent) intend to increase the level of security tagging on items sold in their stores in the next 12 months
Retail Ireland Director Stephen Lynam said the findings were “shocking but not surprising” because retail crime had been increasing since the start of the recession.
“Research shows that retailers’ inventory loss caused by crime in Ireland at 1.43 per cent in 2011, the equivalent value in sales of some €512 million,” said Lynam.
While this is significantly lower than countries like the United States (1.59 per cent) and the Czech Republic (1.50 per cent), it remains higher than the United Kingdom (1.37 per cent) and Spain (1.4 per cent).
Ireland ranks an embarrassing 11th out of 22 countries in Europe for shop lifting, with employee theft accounting for over a third of the total; the highest rate in Europe.This is a staggeringly high cost, which has to be factored into retailers’ pricing decisions.
To help combat the problem, Retail Ireland has made a series of recommendations to Government, including the full implementation of An Garda Síochána’s Theft from Shops Prevention and Reduction Strategy – a strategy it calls a “proactive, collaborative effort to prevent retail theft” by the retail community and the Gardaí.
It also recommends that local retail theft meetings are set up, involving local Gardaí and retailers, to allow for the sharing of intelligence and best practice in tackling retail theft on the ground.
Retail Ireland says that business owners should fully inform themselves of the strategy’s recommendations and put appropriate measures into practice.
Read Retail Ireland’s report: Tackling The Black Market and Retail Crime>