Retailers should have an increased awareness of the risk and
take the appropriate precautions.
Acting Senior Sergeant Chris George AS retailers get ready
for the busy Christmas shopping season, they are also gearing
up to fight the seasonal spike in shoplifting.
Acting Senior Sergeant Chris George said police expected more
reports of shoplifting as it came closer to Christmas.
"Traditionally we see an upsurge in the number of cases," he
Professional shoplifters took advantage of shops being busy
at this time of the year and were easily able to sell stolen
goods to satisfy the demand for Christmas presents, Acting
Snr Sgt George said.
"Retailers should have an increased awareness of the risk and
take the appropriate precautions," he said.
As yet there had not been any upsurge but police expected
incidents to increase closer to Christmas, he said.
Farmers department store loss-prevention manager Jim Smith
said the store would be prepared, with more people on the
floor and with in-store security cameras.
Workers were well-aware of people who could be considered
professional shoplifters - they knew who they were and what
they looked like, Mr Smith said.
Meridian Mall manager Michael Porter said the mall did see an
increase in the numbers of shoplifters caught around
Christmas time, but it was relative to the increase in foot
"Most of the shoplifters we catch are unfortunately generally
younger people just taking advantage of the situation," Mr
Most of the well-known shoplifters were already trespassed
from the mall and security staff were experienced, he said.
In October, Mr Porter told The Star that 32 security cameras
tracked shoplifters as they moved through the mall's common
areas. Footage was used to help the police.
"I think we keep pretty well on top of it." University of
Otago marketing senior lecturer John Guthrie has published
studies on retail crime.
Christmas was a "perfect storm" characterised by economic
pressures, demand for goods and people with free time, Dr
'There is no doubt shoplifting becomes much more popular at
this time of the year.
"But trying to understand the motivations behind the
shoplifting is difficult because there are many reasons."
For many it was a business; for others it was linked to
economic pressures and gift expectations at Christmas, Dr
Almost all retailers knew about the increase in theft around
Christmas time and were well-prepared, he said.