Two-thirds of convenience store retailers have experienced a rise in the cost of retail crime in the past 12 months.
The worrying statistic forms part of the British Retail Consortium's 13th annual Retail Crime Survey. The survey details how the convenience sector has become more of a target for criminals who view it as a softer option than larger stores which have invested heavily in security.
The rise in the cost of crime comes despite a big investment in crime prevention by small retailers. Almost three-quarters (73%) of c-store owners have increased their investment in crime prevention over the past year.
Overall, 56% of convenience retailers have experienced a rise in shoplifting, while 45% said that criminal damage (vandalism and arson) was up. On top of this, staff theft was also up at 23% of convenience stores.
The survey also suggested that retailers had little or no faith that the government or the police take retail crime seriously enough. Almost all c-store retailers (93%) do not believe that the government is doing enough to tackle retail crime, while 85% said they believe the police see retail crime as either a low or very low priority. Just 8% think the police view it as a high priority.
The survey, sponsored by ADT, also reveals that crime cost retailers in the UK a total of £2.1bn last year, showing little change from the 2004 figure of £2.13bn. The number of shoplifting offences has risen by a massive 70% since 2000.
Association of Convenience Stores public affairs director James Lowman said the results prove the Sentencing Advisory Board was wrong to suggest removing custodial sentences for shop theft as it would send out the wrong message.