SHOPLIFTING is on the rise in Albury.
Data released this week by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research indicates thefts in the Albury local government area increased from 162 offences in the 12 months to March last year to 250 incidents for the same period to March this year.
The figures came as no surprise to East Albury IGA owner Bob Mathews, who said he had first noticed a rise in thefts at the supermarket about 12 months ago.
The businessman estimated the store lost about $1000 a week in stock to thieves.
“We have 11,000 customers a week go through the shop ... it doesn’t take much to give $1000 a shake,” he said.
“Shoplifting’s a permanent issue.
“About 12 months ago, it started getting a little bit worse; things have been pretty tough out there for a lot of people.”
Mr Mathews said the notion that shoplifting was a victimless crime was false, saying in the long term, all customers had to pay increased prices to cover the losses.
“You don’t see the colour of the victims’ eyes but the reality of it is that everybody is a victim of shoplifting,” he said.
Mr Mathews said the store suffered most at the hands of juveniles and people under the influence of alcohol.
“The biggest problem we have is apprehending people,” he said.
“We’ve got to catch them when they get through the checkouts.
“We’re supposed to take them to the office and keep them until the police arrive but they tell you to ‘get stuffed’ and leave.”
Mr Mathews said the store had taken to banning offenders as a more effective measure against shoplifting.
“Once we find someone doing the wrong thing, we just bar them,” he said.
“That’s about the only weapon we’ve got — they won’t hang around waiting for police.”
Albury and Northside Chambers of Commerce business manager Kerryn Arnold said retailers had not raised any recent concerns about shoplifting.
But it was an issue that was routinely covered in security advice that was made available to members.