One of the positives in Wednesday’s annual report from the Winnipeg Police Service was that shoplifting seems to have dropped significantly, with the five-year average down 37 per cent.
Police credited those numbers to a precipitous drop in liquor thefts after Manitoba Liquor Marts beefed up security at all of its locations.
The Retail Council of Canada, however, says retail theft continues to happen; it’s just being underreported.
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“Right now in retail, we’re really seeing no less crime actually happening,” the council’s John Graham told 680 CJOB’s The Start.
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“What we’re seeing is operators choose not to report lower-impact incidents, as they’re seeing lower response from police — as police, of course, have to prioritize calls — and ultimately no real consequences for their efforts in the justice system.
“What you’re seeing is stores manage these incidents internally, through barring of customers, seeking restitution, or most definitely investments in hardening their stores.”
Graham said he hopes to soon have some hard data on how much retail crime is unreported. He said that the council is teaming up with University of Manitoba researchers to get a handle on those numbers.
“Anecdotally we’re hearing 50 to 70 per cent of all incidents happening in retail stores right now simply aren’t being reported.
“We need those to show up in statistics and reports so we can better respond.”
Manitoba Liquor Marts’ theft crackdown paying off, but overall retail theft still an issue
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