Shoplifting down as retailers, police beef up security

Shoplifting down as retailers, police beef up security
A life-size poster warning against theft outside a Giant supermarket.

Shop theft is on the decline, following efforts by the police and retailers to tighten security.

There were 3,788 cases reported last year, 5 per cent down on the 3,999 in the previous year, according to the latest police figures.

The police told The Straits Times that they have been working closely with retailers to curb shoplifting in recent years and that it has started to pay off.

The number of cases reported last year was also the lowest since 2009, when there were 5,240 cases.

Some measures the police have been advising retailers to adopt include displaying expensive items in locked display shelves accessible only to staff, installing adequate closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras and convex mirrors, as well as displaying signs or warnings against theft.

Retailers have also rolled out anti-theft measures of their own.

Supermarket chain Sheng Siong started a trial at some of its stores where it placed electronic tags on "higher-value" merchandise earlier this year, said a spokesman. An alarm would go off if anyone tries to take a tagged item out of the store without paying for it.

Anti-theft messages are also broadcast in four languages at all Sheng Siong stores during operating hours, she added.

The number of shoplifting cases across Sheng Siong has remained constant over the past two years despite more stores opening, said the spokesman.

The chain has 33 stores, up from 25 a couple of years ago.

Giant and Cold Storage - both run by Dairy Farm - have also reported fewer thefts.

Cases reported at their stores fell by 30 per cent last year compared to the year before, said a Dairy Farm spokesman.

The chain regularly reviews and upgrades its CCTV system and installs more cameras where possible to increase security coverage, she added.

NTUC FairPrice has security officers patrolling its stores. It refers all suspected cases of shoplifting to the police.

"Over the years, we have also continued to work closely with the police on various public campaigns to educate the community that crime does not pay," said a spokesman.

This article was published on May 14 in The Straits Times.

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