Grocery retail thefts surge by 51.85% since 2019

The Forum shows that there were very significant regional variations in the 2022 to 2023 “Thefts from Shop” incidents reported



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18 March 2024

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The meeting convened with representatives from retailers and retail bodies, featuring a presentation by Inspector Damien Boland from the GNCEB, the Community Engagement Bureau.

A thorough analysis of retail crime highlighted significant increases in thefts, drive-offs, and related crimes, particularly affecting supermarkets and convenience stores nationwide.

Regional disparities were notable, with Dublin reporting a modest 2% increase year-on-year, while other regions experienced larger spikes: 14% in the South, 28% in the East, and 31% in the North West.

Theft incidents were further detailed, with food, groceries, and liquor accounting for the majority of stolen items.

Of concern were the 51.85% increase in thefts from supermarkets and convenience stores since 2019, marking the highest number of thefts and the largest percentage increase, according to the CSNA.

Theft concerns

Incidents of anti-social behaviour associated with theft were also documented, including assaults, drunkenness offences, and public order offences, with a steady increase in reported incidents since 2007.

Concerns were raised regarding the effectiveness of the 999 reporting system for calling Garda assistance, with a request for improved response times and follow-ups.

While 25% of theft reports were made via 999 calls, the majority utilised alternative reporting methods, indicating a need for enhanced service standards.

Detailed insights into fuel theft, including factors influencing incidents such as fuel price fluctuations, were presented, shedding light on the extent of the issue in Ireland.

Retailers emphasised the need for increased accountability and clarity in the recording and resolution of theft incidents. They expressed frustration over the backlog of unresolved theft cases and urged for more proactive handling by An Garda Síochána (AGS).

There is ongoing frustration regarding the retention of stolen items in Garda custody, which are often valuable and marketable. Retailers stressed the importance of promptly returning such items, especially those with impending expiration dates. Plans were made to advocate for improved procedures in this regard, with hopes for positive developments.



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