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Thefts up a third while violence and abuse doubles, says BRC; ‘two thirds of customer theft not reported to police’

Recession sees retail crime rocket

Crime affecting retail in the UK rose steeply in 2009 according to a survey published today by the British Retail Consortium. Thefts from shops increased by a third, while the violence and abuse directed at shop staff doubled.

Notably though, the year’s survey is the first time the BRC has drawn data on retail crime not reported to the police. The organisation’s data suggest that a huge two thirds of retail crime does not get referred to the authorities, indicating shoplifting incidents actually numbered over one million.

The survey found that retail crime cost £1.1 billion in the last financial year, up 10 per cent on 2007/2008 – and the equivalent of 72,000 retail jobs according to the BRC.

Customer theft made up the largest segment of retail crime, making up 94 per cent of incident numbers and 42 per cent in terms of monetary value.

Physical violence leapt 58 per cent and verbal abuse rose by 37 per cent, with approximately 22,000 retail employees suffering threat, physical or verbal attacks.

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