RGDATA Report: 90% of store owners victims of crime in 2015

RGDATA director general Tara Buckley
RGDATA director general Tara Buckley

Retail representative RGDATA has published startling results of its crime survey and called on the government for urgent action

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27 January 2016 | 0

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Earlier this month we ran a brief report about a robbery that occurred in a store in Co. Kildare. Back in November, ShelfLife publisher John McDonald used his speech at the National C-Store Awards 2015 to highlight the issue of crime such as shoplifting and robbery in convenience stores. Now, RGDATA has weighed in with the undisputable facts that there is something of an epidemic in effect: in the past year, 90% of store owners have been victims of shoplifting.

In a detailed crime survey, the local store association has revealed some shocking statistics among its members:

  • 40% have been victims of burglary
  • 80% of retailers feel more vulnerable now than two years ago
  • In cases where perpetrators were prosecuted and convicted, more than 80% of those cases did not lead to a sentence

RGDATA director general Tara Buckley called the survey results “extremely serious.

“This spate of retail crime is not just impacting on our members’ livelihoods, but also increasing their stress levels and anxiety beyond what is acceptable. Independent, family-owned businesses are vital for our local rural communities. However, they are also vulnerable, as everybody knows who they are and where they live.”

Buckley said that investment in security and CCTV often does not deter crime sufficiently, and that some retailers have even considered closing their business as a consequence of the threats they face.

Government

In response to these shocking survey results, RGDATA has written to the Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald, outlining the situation and proposing urgent measures to tackle crime against retailers:

  • A more visible Garda presence in rural towns and villages
  • A commitment by Gardai to follow up with retailers after crimes are reported
  • The use of a network of retailers for installation of Garda CCTV facilities
  • Longer sentences for serial shoplifters
  • Lifetime driving bans for drivers of ‘getaway cars’
  • Stronger trespass laws to protect retailers’ right to refuse admission
  • Electronic tagging of offenders
  • Stricter bail laws
  • A specialised retail crime unit to investigate and deter crimes against retailers

“Independent retailers identify this issue as one of the key concerns impacting on the future viability of their businesses,” Tara Buckley added. “It is a major problem that needs to be dealt with, and serial offenders should face the same penalties as those who steal from private homes.

“Government needs to recognise and address this and address it as a matter of urgency,” she said.

RGDATA Report: 90% of store owners victims of crime in 2015

 

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