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Adam Bannister is a contributor to IFSEC Global, having been in the role of Editor from 2014 through to November 2019. Adam also had stints as a journalist at cybersecurity publication, The Daily Swig, and as Managing Editor at Dynamis Online Media Group.
January 22, 2015

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In-Store Surveillance has Never been So Sophisticated. So Why is Shoplifting at a 10-Year High?

retail store cctv control roomRetail crime cost British businesses more than £600m last year – an 18% year-on-year increase.

Released by the British Retail Consortium the figures defy a wider trend of falling crime and the attention of an increasingly sophisticated network of surveillance cameras and other security technologies deployed by retailers.

The most frequently stolen items were electrical goods, designer clothes, power tools, alcohol and cosmetics.

The last time crime cost UK retailers so much was a decade ago, when shops still largely relied on analogue cameras with grainier footage. High definition hadn’t even reached our TV screens, let alone CCTV cameras, so technological deterrents have arguably become greater.

Helen Dickinson, director general of the BRC, said survey respondents reported a rise in the use of specialist equipment such as de-taggers and foil-lined bags to sidestep security measures and avoid detection. Some 40% of retail crime is attributed to criminal gangs, who often work together in groups, while shoplifting accounts for 81% of retail crime by volume.

“Theft, a crime which has always affected retailers, continues to have a huge impact on the sector,” says Dickinson. “This year’s survey has recorded the highest average value of customer theft in a decade.

“This reinforces the trend identified last year, which suggests that stores are increasingly the target for theft by organised, sophisticated groups.”

The insider threat is a major source of theft, with the victim’s employees accounting for 6% of the overall figure. The cost of retail fraud also rose, growing by 12% and accounting for nearly 40% of the total as shops’ virtual shop fronts become increasingly enticing targets for criminals.

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January 22, 2015 2:06 pm

IFSEC Good question!

January 22, 2015 2:14 pm

IFSEC If the correct risk assessment wasn’t carried out expecting surveillance to stop anything is a bit hopeful-it’s more than equipment

January 23, 2015 8:33 pm

We need to deal with #shoplifting together as a community And Catch A Thief wants to prevent Shoplifting

January 28, 2015 5:24 pm

Could it be that the increase in shoplifting could be due to the deterrent of all the latest security technology being undermined by the justice system? Petty criminals don’t care anymore that they may get caught shoplifting, as the penalties for breaking the law are not severe enough… Fines that don’t get paid and if at some point incarceration is levied on the villain, it is either for such a short period of time it is inconsequential or that the prison is better than the accommodation they currently live in… Either way getting caught on HD CCTV and identified is… Read more »