Britain, already grappling with a severe cost of living crisis, has witnessed a sharp rise in shoplifting incidents. The British Retail Consortium (BRC) estimates that British shops encountered approximately 8 million “theft incidents” in the previous year. This surge in retail crime has resulted in financial losses amounting to nearly £953 million.
A recent analysis by Money.co.uk shop insurance experts delves into crime data for England & Wales to pinpoint which regions have borne the brunt of this escalating trend. Their findings present a grim picture for the North East of the country, which emerges as the region most adversely affected by the increase in shoplifting incidents. The study, which encompasses three years of data, reveals that Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland, Wakefield, Stockton-on-Tees, Newcastle, and north-east Lincolnshire rank prominently among the top 25 shoplifting hotspots.
The data analysis uncovers a concerning pattern: locations within the North East region are disproportionately represented among the 25 municipalities most severely impacted by this wave of retail crime. This revelation casts a spotlight on the deeper socio-economic issues plaguing the region.
Cameron Jaques, a business insurance expert at Money.co.uk, weighed in on the findings, underscoring the broader socio-economic challenges that the UK is currently navigating. He remarked, “The cost of living crisis is affecting us all. With the cost of food and basic necessities continuing to rise, it’s not surprising that shoplifting is on the rise as well, as large segments of UK’s population struggle to afford essential everyday items.”
Jaques further highlighted the alarming poverty statistics from the North East, noting that it boasts the highest poverty rate among all regions in England. “With Middlesbrough, Hartlepool, and Newcastle upon Tyne being in the top 25 UK shoplifting hotspots,” Jaques continued, “it’s safe to think there’s a correlation there. And if the cost of living crisis is here to stay, it’s likely that supermarkets and retailers will have to deal with shoplifting as a regular occurrence.”
The revelations from the Money.co.uk study shed light on the wider ramifications of the cost of living crisis on retail crime. As the UK battles rising inflation and economic challenges, the business community, policymakers, and the general public must come together to address the root causes and find sustainable solutions. Shoplifting, while being a direct consequence, is but a symptom of deeper socio-economic problems that require a multi-pronged approach to rectify.