RGDATA reacted strongly today (31 March 2016) to the CSO latest statistics on crime which show that shoplifting has increased by 8.6% to more than 22,500 reported crimes.
Commenting on the statistics, Tara Buckley, Director General RGDATA said “This is a really worrying trend for shop owners. CSO’s crime data only captures crimes reported to the Garda so the true level of offending is even higher than the data suggests”.
She continued: “The impact that retail crime is having on shop owners throughout the country is extremely serious and impacting not just on their livelihoods and the cost of doing business, but is also increasing stress and anxiety levels for the owners and their staff to levels that are way beyond what is acceptable”.
RGDATA has made respresenations to Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald TD, outlining the serious situation shop owners find themselves in and outlined a number of urgent measures required to tackle retail crime.
These measures are as follows:
- A more visible Garda presence in rural towns and villages;
- A commitment by Garda to follow up with retailers in relation to a crime reported.
- The use of the network of retailers for installation of Garda CCTV facilities in areas of particular vulnerability or in locations of pivotal importance from a transport perspective.
- Longer sentences for serial shoplifters – in particular the practice of imposing concurrent sentences for offences fails to provide the deterrent required for recidivist criminals.
- Lifetime driving bans for drivers of getaway cars
- Stronger trespass laws with increased protection for retailers who wish to refuse a person access to their store
- Electronic tagging of offenders
- Stricter bail laws and
- A specialist retail crime unit to assist with deterring and investigating crime against retailers.
“Retail crime must be tackled as a matter of urgency. Shop owners are investing heavily in security and CCTV but this is not deterring shoplifters. Some RGDATA members who have been victims of repetitive shoplifting 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,” Tara Buckley added.