Spike in retail crime over the pandemic period

An increase in customer crime of up to 400 per cent has been seen in retail outlets across the country, said Dominique Lamb, National Retail Association (NRA) CEO.

Lamb was speaking at a webinar hosted by the Australian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS) last week, when she revealed the statistics, which included a 400 per cent rise in retail violence across NSW during the peak of the pandemic.

“This is almost at epidemic levels across the country. We’ve seen significant increases depending on the location. In Victoria there’s been a 77 per cent increase in people engaged in retail crime carrying a weapon and a 108 per cent increase in Victoria of people being intoxicated then engaging in retail crime.”

Lamb said one of the driving factors was the introduction of hygiene protocols, and the need for customers to wear masks and check-in to venues.

“It’s very concerning, and it’s something I continue to work with all of the State Governments and Federal Government about providing additional support to retailers.”

There has also been a rise in theft, which Lamb said would have been triggered by socioeconomic circumstances such as people losing their jobs or going onto JobKeeper, which might be a reduction in what they would regularly be paid.

Through the research by NRA, it was reported that 95 per cent of respondents were negatively impacted by COVID.

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