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Cost of retail crime rises to £1.6bn

The cost of retail crime has increased by 15.6% in the last year - with ecrime registering as “the most costly” activity of 2012.

The British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) annual Retail Crime Survey published today (January 21) revealed that the cost of retail crime, which includes damage, stolen goods and the amount spent on crime prevention, rose to £1.6bn.

E-crime now accounts for 37% of the total cost, as a result of the growth of ecommerce.

The number of incidents of crime rose in all categories, apart from violence against staff and robberies. Customer thefts were the most common, accounting for 83% of all incidents.The average value of goods stolen has risen by 28% in the last year to £109.

However reports of crime have fallen, with just 12% of all thefts reported to the police, down from 47% in 2011.

“Systematic targeting of higher value goods by organised criminals is pushing up the cost of retail crime but the proportion of shoplifting incidents reported to police has plummeted to just one in eight – highlighting just how much there is to do to build retailers’ confidence in the way police forces respond,” said BRC director general Helen Dickinson.

“News that e-crime accounts for 37% of the total cost of retail crime, reflects the changing nature of the threats that today’s retailers are facing,” said Simon Jackson, chief commercial officer of online brand protection specialist NetNames.

“As brands struggle to compete on the high street and leverage the online power channels to target customers as part of a multichannel approach, cyber criminals are also following the move online.”

The BRC’s Retail Crime Survey gathers data from 44 retailers and represents 58% of the retail sector by turnover.

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