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    New findings show grim picture of crime against wholesale, retail

    Photo: iStock

    A good majority all wholesale and retail premises in England and Wales were a victim of crime during the previous 12 months, states a recent report, naming theft, burglary and vandalism among the most prevalent crimes and food and grocery among most stolen items.

    According to findings from the 2023 Commercial Victimisation Survey (CVS), released on Thursday (9), which examines the extent of crime against businesses in England and Wales, 26 per cent (409,000) of all business premises, in England and Wales, were crime victim.

    Premises in the wholesale and retail sector had a higher prevalence of victimisation compared with other commercial sectors, with 41 per cent experiencing any CVS crime during the previous 12 months. An estimated 26 per cent of premises in the wholesale and retail sector experienced customer theft during the previous 12 months, this was similar to that found in the 2022 CVS; however, overall customer theft has shown a longer-term upward trend, increasing from 20 per cent in 2014 to 26 per cent in 2023.

    There was considerable variation in crime prevalence across different types of premises in the wholesale and retail sector. Among retail premises, supermarkets experienced notably higher levels of theft by a customer (76 per cent) and assaults or threats (43 per cent) compared with premises in other retail subsectors.

    The latest police recorded crime data, for the year ending December 2023, has shown rises in both shoplifting and robbery of business property, taking the trend above pre-pandemic levels. Of premises that experienced violence, 73 per cent experienced verbal abuse whilst 21 per cent experienced physical attack without injury and 8 per cent with injury, shows the finding report.

    For premises that experienced crime, 55 per cent had reported at least one crime they experienced to the police during the previous 12 months. Among those reports, 35 per cent were satisfied with the police response and 41 per cent were dissatisfied; the most common reason for being dissatisfied was that the police never showed up / didn’t do anything (63 per cent).

    Around one in 10 (11 per cent) of all premises stated that they were a member of a crime prevention network. The most common types of networks which these premises said they were a member of were Farm Watch, Local Neighbourhood Watch, or Business Watch group (44 per cent).

    Furthermore, the findings showed that the most common reasons for violence affecting staff at the premises, were “encountering someone committing a store theft (19 per cent), a customer complaint (17 per cent) and confronting suspicious behaviour (14 per cent).

    Of those that experienced violence, seven per cent of victims perceived that the violence was motivated by race, ethnicity, or nationality, four per cent considered it motivated by religion/faith, sexual orientation, transgender or disability. 

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