A survey conducted by RGDATA among its members has revealed that 90% of retailers have been the victim of a crime in the last 12 months, with 80% claiming that crime has become more dangerous in the last year.
Respondents also reported that in 85% of cases, the Gardaí were called, and that their response time for 60% of incidents was less than 30 minutes. While 70% said they were satisfied with Gardaí responses, only 55% were kept up-to-date on the progress of any investigation.
When the perpetrators were prosecuted and convicted, in more than 80% of cases, a sentence was not imposed.
Tara Buckley, Director General of RGDATA commented on the survey results, "The impact that the increased spate of retail crime is having on our members is extremely serious and impacting not just on their livelihoods, but also increasing their stress and anxiety levels beyond what is acceptable."
She added that many of RGDATA’s members have invested heavily in security measures and CCTV, but this is not deterring crime to any great extent.
"There are some retailers who have spoken about closing up their shops as a consequence of the fear and threat to themselves, their staff and their families from criminal elements," she said.
RGDATA has written to the Minister for Justice, to not only outline the situation facing shop owners, but also to put forward a number of measures it urgently wants to see brought in to tackle retail crime.
It is asking for a more visible police presence in rural towns and villages, as well as a commitment by the Gardaí to follow up with retailers in relation to reported crimes.
It wants to see longer sentences for serial shoplifters, lifetime bans for drivers of ‘getaway’ cars, stronger trespassing laws and electronic tagging offenders.
Finally, RGDATA is asking for the installation of CCTV cameras in both vulnerable areas and those of pivotal importance from a transport perspective, and a specialist retail crime unit to be established.
Buckley concluded by saying, "Dealing with constant shoplifting is causing huge stress for independent retailers and putting their shops and the jobs they provide at risk. Government needs to recognize this and address the issue as a matter of urgency."
© 2016 - Checkout Magazine by Jenny Whelan.