Crime is an issue that is not going away, according to the Association of Convenience Stores 2019 Report. The ACS found that the three biggest concerns for retailers are violence against staff, theft by customers and verbal abuse against staff. The issues faced by convenience stores also include shoplifting, violent crime and ATM ram raids which are a growing problem – especially in rural areas.
Shoplifting: A Growing Issue
The ACS 2019 Crime Report, found that crimes committed against the convenience sector cost an estimated £246 million over the past 12 months. Focusing on shoplifting, the study found that 79% of thefts were done by repeat offenders and almost 50% were influenced by alcohol or drugs.
Police figures show that shoplifting in British supermarkets has increased by more than 7% in the last four years. Retailers believe that this figure has increased even more than estimated as many convenience stores do not always report incidents. With an estimated 950,000 incidents last year in the retail sector the problem may continue to rise.
Violence In Store
Violent crime is also another threat to retailers that continues to grow, with 27% of c-stores reporting an increase in the number of incidents of violent crime. The number of violent crimes that resulted in an injury has risen to 41% with a knife being involved in roughly two-thirds of the incidents. This is a building worry for both staff and customers of convenience stores.
ACS has developed an animation to help retailers and their staff identify and manage the triggers of violence and verbal abuse in store. The training animation covers three key areas:
• Refusing to serve customers.
• Dealing with shop thieves.
• Armed robberies.
The total amount of staff theft cost the c-store sector £20m in the last 12 months. The most common staff incidents to look out for are cash directly from tills, consumption of products in store, price overrides and partial scanning of products.
Only 30% of staff incidents are reported to the police because c-stores may be reluctant to report these thefts as they believe it displays internal conflict and a lack of management in-store. Failure to report of these thefts may result in repeat offences when a staff member moves on to another business.