UNREPORTED shoplifting is costing retailers millions as businesses draft in new anti-theft measures for Gloucester.
The latest British Retail Consortium survey found underreporting of retail crime is a “significant challenge” and has been blamed on a lack of confidence in police.
In 2012, 694 cases of shoplifting were reported in Gloucester city centre. A year later and the figure had dropped to 664.
While 60 per cent of burglaries were reported to police last year, just 46 per cent of fraud cases and nine per cent of customer thefts were recorded.
It is the lowest reporting rate since data collection began.
Former city police chief Richard Burge is co-ordinator for CitySafe – a project uniting businesses in Gloucester against crime.
“It is really important that stores do not ignore thefts and do everything they can to prevent them from happening, otherwise they are seen as an easy target,” he said.
Customer theft accounted for 82 per cent of all retail crime last year. And figures show criminal gangs have now switched their attention to high-value goods.
The average value per incident is now £177 – up 62 per cent. Businesses signing up to CitySafe will gain access to the latest database of known shoplifters and security advice.
Asda is one of Gloucester’s major retailers and joins Sainsbury’s and Debenhams on the programme.
In 2013, Asda in Gloucester welcomed 1.8million shoppers through its doors, with less than 0.1 per cent recorded stealing.
Asda spokeswoman Lauren Pell, said: “This is a minute fraction of the customers who visited our stores during this period.
“That said, we do take shoplifting very seriously and are working with the police and crime squads to bring this figure down even further.”
Other businesses to join up ahead of the May 1 launch are Iceland, Marks & Spencer, BHS, The Eastgate shopping centre, Cafe Rene, Butlers, The Registry, Stagecoach, McDonald’s and Andy Cars private hire.
Membership costs £1 a day and will give access to a radio linked in with other members and the police. But some major city retailers, including Tesco and Morrisons, are yet to sign up.
A Tesco spokesman said: “We are keen to know more about the CitySafe scheme. A meeting is being coordinated with the organisers and police in the coming weeks, so we can make a considered decision.”