Tuesday, June 18, 2024

NSW trialling program to reduce retail crime

Crime Stoppers NSW is working with NSW Police and the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) to combat retail crime.

“We’re coming up to the busiest time of the year for retail. Everyone has the right to feel safe whether you’re a customer or a worker,” says Crime Stoppers NSW CEO Peter Price AM. “We’re hoping this campaign will have a positive impact during this critical Christmas trading period.

“This is a NSW pilot program with the ARA and if the results are encouraging, we will look to extend this nationally.”

Mr Price adds: “Shoplifting for many of our young people is an entry level crime. As of December 2022, theft accounted for the most common offence by young people and almost double break and enter crimes. Young people aged 14-17 years had the highest rate of prosecutions for retail theft. If we can deter this from happening, our youth may find themselves on a better life path.”

ARA CEO Paul Zahra says he wants everyone to have the best Christmas shopping experience this year and that can only happen if everyone is safe and respectful towards others.

“All retail workers have a right to feel safe at work. It’s not the norm to be yelled at – or spat at – for doing your job. It’s certainly not the norm to be punched or groped or assaulted or intimidated with a weapon while at work,” he says.

“This issue isn’t confined to major retail chains alone, as even small family businesses are feeling the brunt of shoplifting. These small businesses rely on every sale to keep their lights on and to continue employing staff, especially in regional areas.”

The campaign messaging is directed to everyone affected by retail crimes, including shoppers, victims, offenders, and the wider community with awareness around prevention and reporting.

According to a recent survey conducted by the ARA, more than 92% of members have experienced or have had a team member experience verbal or physical assault while at work, with over 60% occurring in small to medium businesses. Much of this aggression is experienced when a worker approaches someone caught doing something wrong, like shoplifting.

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