Police are to target shoplifting in Rugby after the number of thefts from shops almost doubled in 12 months.
New figures show there were 34 reports of shoplifting in January – up from 18 in the same month last year, and the highest number in the four years that the data has been available on the police statistics website.
Known shoplifters are identified and monitored when entering the town centre to assist in the prevention of crimeSgt Bunyard-Spiers
And Sgt Sally Bunyard-Spirers from Rugby Safer Neighbourhood Team is determined to tackle the problem. She said: “I think it is evident that there is a growing issue of shoplifting across the town.
“Shoplifting of food and essentials has become more evident of late as opposed to theft of ‘luxury’ goods.”
Most of the shoplifting is concentrated in the Clock Towers shopping centre, with a number of incidents also reported in High Street and Clifton Road.
Sgt Bunyard-Spiers added: “Where issues are identified, officers are proactive in engaging with the target premises, including providing high visibility, especially around the ‘red routes’ – those areas that may not be covered by CCTV, thus being susceptible to thieves. This close engagement with shopkeepers provides reassurance and a deterrent to persistent offenders.”
Her colleagues are currently developing a further operation targeting retail crime, which will be occurring within the next few months, but officers are confident their current measures are effective. Sgt Bunyard-Spiers said: “Known shoplifters are identified and monitored when entering the town centre to assist in the prevention of crime.”
Aftab Gaffar, managing director of town centre management company Rugby First, said: “The increase in shoplifting is inevitable in times of recession and high unemployment.
“There are always criminals ready to exploit these difficult times and it is fair to say that most of the shoplifting and other crimes have been dealt with robustly by Rugby First who have provided the police with evidence to gain a prosecution.
“It is also interesting to note that we have recently seen an increase with the Elliot’s Field development being closed, as we had previously pushed criminals out of town.
“Rugby First is a security-driven BID, with an excellent national reputation.”