22 Mar 2024

Retail crime reports up 20 percent on last year, police data shows

11:32 am on 22 March 2024
A person was critically injured during a robbery on Dawson Road in Auckland's Clover Park on Saturday.

Police tape outside an Auckland store in Clover Park, after a robbery in December. Photo: RNZ/ Rayssa Almeida

Reports of retail crime across the country increased by nearly 20 percent from 2022 to last year, Police data shows.

The Dairy and Business Owners Group released the crime figures from Police under the Official Information Act earlier this week.

In 2022, there were 99,045 reported victimisations related to retailers, varying in nature from robbery and unlawful entry, to sexual assault.

In 2023, there were 118,144 reported victimisations related to retailers, with more than 200 sexual assaults or related offences.

Data for 2023 showed the total number of offences reported related to retailers (including the reported victimisations) was nearly 150,000. These ranged from potential disturbances to actual substantiated crimes.

Police said they understood the impact that retail crime had on hard-working business owners and members of the public, and that they were taking an enforcement, prevention, and partnership approach to addressing the issue.

In statement to RNZ, police said they took retail crime seriously.

"We acknowledge reporting of retail crime has increased, which can partly be attributed [to] avenues like [the 105 non-emergency number] and the Auror system making it easier to report illegal behaviour," they said.

"This would capture previously unreported retail crimes such as low-level, non-violent shoplifting."

Police said they focused their efforts on holding the most prolific retail offenders to account, as well as those undertaking the most brazen and harmful retail offending, like aggravated robbery or ram raids.

Their National Retail Investigation Support Unit worked closely with the retail sector, targeting recidivist offenders and identifying patterns of high priority repeat offending across the country.

"We know that across the board it is a small cohort of repeat offenders who commit a large proportion of retail crime, and these are usually small, organised groups," police said.

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