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Policies & Issues: Retail Crime

The Annual BRC Retail Crime Survey provides valuable evidence to help fill the gap in our understanding about the impact of crime on retailers, a key sector of our economy. A broad range of retailers participate in the survey, from large multiples to smaller retailers, representing around half of the retail sector by turnover.

Key findings

The survey found that in 2012-13:

- The direct cost of crime to retailers was £511m, 166 per cent higher than in 2007-08.

- Retailers suffered the highest level of theft for nine years. There were 631,391 incidents of customer theft reported in 2012-13 and thefts per 100 stores increased 5 per cent on 2011-12.

- The average value of each incident of customer theft increased by 62 per cent- a key factor driving this is thought to be the impact of organised crime gangs, who are systematically targeting higher value items.

- Retailers reported only one in ten (9 per cent) of customer theft offences to the police.

- Fraud increased by 15 per cent in 2012-13 and accounted for 41 per cent of the total cost of retail crime.

- It is estimated there were 2.7m offences in 2012-13 against retailers, directly adding £511m to retailers' costs.

- Burglaries fell by 49% compared to last year. Despite the number of burglaries falling, the cost of each incident rose from £1,730 to £2,067.

- The average cost per incident of criminal damage jumped by 114% in 2012-13, from £962 to £2,062.

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