An increase in theft puts local business at risk

The following is an email we received from one of our members whose business has been severely affected by increased levels of shoplifting and the police’s inability to help.

Subject: Retail Crime
Date: 5 March 2024 at 11:31:11 GMT

I am writing this email as I am hoping that someone, somewhere, can help.

I have owned my business for over 13 years, and whilst we have always had the odd issue with shoplifters, we are currently seeing levels of theft that are no longer sustainable for my business. Over the last few years every hotel establishment has been filled with people who are now carrying out crimes within our town on a daily basis.

This week we have been plagued by a group of 14 year old children – one of them started stealing from us a couple of years ago, i.e. when he was 12. He is known to the police but little has been done.

These children grab handfuls of stock and simply laugh, and refuse to leave the shop when asked. If challenged, they smash things. I have reported incidents and provided CCTV evidence. These children will no doubt move on to more serious crime as they grow older. The police “understand our frustration” but unfortunately this understanding does not solve the issues.

Can we confront, detain or physically stop these people? No. Can we expose them on social media? No. (Although many do, but my desire to operate within all laws prevents me from doing so). Everything is stacked in favour of the perpetrator. A lack of respect for people and property has become the norm, and I am very saddened by this.

Back-to-basics education, with a focus on respect and aspirations, and harsher penalties for those who do not live within the law, would go some way to making a small change – but I fear it will take decades to reverse the social decline. I am hoping that those in positions of influence and decision-making can refocus their priorities on to what is happening in our communities, to our workers and business owners, to ordinary people who work hard and become victims of criminal behaviour.

Marija Lewis
Bargain Booze

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