Shoplifting and Anti-Social Behavior on the Rise in Co-op Shops
The Co-op has recently revealed a concerning increase in shoplifting and anti-social behavior in their stores. According to the company, there were over 175,000 incidents reported from January to June of this year alone. This alarming statistic has prompted the Co-op to call on police forces to take more action against repeat offenders.
During the first six months of 2023, Co-op shops experienced almost 1,000 incidents every day, averaging out to more than 175,000 incidents in total. The severity of the situation is exemplified by a shop in inner London being “looted” three times in a single day.
Shop workers have also reported an increase in physical assaults by almost a third compared to the previous year. Additionally, incidents of anti-social behavior and verbal abuse have risen by a fifth. The Co-op warns that if this level of crime continues, certain locations may become no-go areas for convenience shops.
Matt Hood, the managing director at Co-op Food, expressed his concern over the escalating situation. He stated, “I have witnessed horrific incidents of brazen and violent theft in our stores, where my store colleagues feel scared and threatened. This criminal behavior not only affects our stores but also undermines the very fabric of our communities. Urgent change is crucial.”
The Co-op has highlighted the fact that many local organized crime gangs operate without fear of being caught. They are urging police and crime commissioners to take action and target prolific offenders. A Freedom of Information request made by the Co-op revealed that police failed to respond in 71% of serious retail crimes reported.
James Lowman, the chief executive of the Association of Convenience Stores, emphasized the detrimental effects of organized criminal activity. He stated that it exploits vulnerable individuals and funds the illegal drug trade.
The Co-op’s plea for increased police intervention and stricter measures against repeat offenders is a call to action for the authorities. It is crucial to address this issue promptly to ensure the safety of shop workers and the communities they serve.