Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

{CRIME CLIMBS AS HARD TIMES BITE} {Security a Must}; {ldquo}Five Finger Discounts{rdquo} on the Rise Locally

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

{CRIME CLIMBS AS HARD TIMES BITE} {Security a Must}; {ldquo}Five Finger Discounts{rdquo} on the Rise Locally

Article excerpt

Byline: Rebecca Marshall rebecca.marshall@scnews.com.au

BRITISH supermarket chain Tesco has taken the step of putting security tags on cheese and meat in response to an increase in shoplifting during the UK recession.

An American college professor has told his students that if they want to study crime, they should go to the "mall" to witness five finger discounters in action.

A retail security survey showed shoplifting accounted for a staggering $12.7billion in losses across the US retail sector during 2008.

These are certainly strange and desperate times.

As cash flow dries up with evaporative speed, the unemployment rate rises and the minimum wage freezes here in Australia, more and more people are thinking crime is the only thing that will actually pay.

While Queensland Police declined to say if the downturn had actually caused an increase in crimes such as shoplifting and break-ins, citing an unwillingness to speak anecdotally, the most up-to-date information available showed a 2% increase in reported shop stealing offences from 2007 to 2008.

New South Wales Bureau of Crime statistics showed an increase in the same offence, for the same period, from 18,399 cases to 19,913.

Here on the Sunshine Coast, service stations, 24-hour convenience stores and security businesses are also noticing the upward crime trend.

"We've had a lot more people coming in and not being able to pay for their petrol because their cards are declined or out of money," said Jesse Ritchie, who works at the Matilda service station at Nambour.

"In that case, we fill out a form with their licence details and address and we fax that off to police.

"They are usually pretty diligent in coming back, but you get the odd person who won't come back. And we have had a couple of drive-offs.

"We also had a bit of shoplifting around Nambour show time.

"A lot more people are out of work and people are finding it a lot harder, especially with the (removal of the fuel) subsidy. A lot of people are complaining about that."

Mr Ritchie said the business also suffered a break-in about a month ago, where thieves attempted to open the safe. …

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