Re­tail theft in the spot­light

Fremantle Gazette - - NEWS - Leah Roberts

WITH steal­ing the most dom­i­nant crime type, Fre­man­tle po­lice are work­ing with busi­nesses to re­duce re­tail theft.

In 2017-2018, re­tail thefts were among the 1458 over­all steal­ing in­ci­dents re­ported.

Fre­man­tle of­fi­cer-in­charge Brad War­bur­ton said shoplift­ing was a dif­fi­cult crime to po­lice.

“It is due to of­fend­ers gen­er­ally be­ing op­por­tunis­tic, tar­get­ing cloth­ing, food, con­fec­tionery and al­co­hol. The key mes­sage we are push­ing across the com­mu­nity is sim­ple: shoplift­ing is a crime – of­fend­ers will be pros­e­cuted,” he said.

Com­mu­nity cir­cles is an ini­tia­tive where Fre­man­tle po­lice, busi­nesses, se­cu­rity and com­mu­nity safety teams work to­gether and share in­for­ma­tion.

Blue Bud­dha owner Chad Mil­ward said com­mu­nity cir­cles had been a suc­cess.

“It has made peo­ple more aware of what is hap­pen­ing around Fre­man­tle,” he said.

Shoplift­ing was some­thing his busi­ness was con­scious of.

“We have se­cu­rity cam­eras in our store. We train the staff that if there is some­thing sus­pi­cious to get right in there with good cus­tomer ser­vice,” he said.

“Shoplifters are look­ing for places they can tar­get; they want to be left alone, so if you can kill them with kind­ness, then they will leave you alone.”

Sgt War­bur­ton said there were a few tech­niques busi­nesses could fol­low.

“En­vi­ron­men­tal de­sign is im­por­tant. In­stead of putting the counter at the rear and the mer­chan­dise in the front, put the mer­chan­dise at back and counter at the front,” he said.

“It’s im­por­tant to have CCTV but to not put mer­chan­dise or signs in front of the cam­eras.

“Lastly, cus­tomer ser­vice is re­ally im­por­tant; talk­ing to all the cus­tomers who come is a de­ter­rent.”

Fre­man­tle Coun­cil and Freo Now will host a com­mu­nity safety ses­sion at the Town Hall on Oc­to­ber 4.

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