Shoplifters warned in the run-up to Christmas

Measures to combat festive shoplifting in Exeter have been revealed.

Instead of waiting for criminals to steal, Exeter Businesses Against Crime (EBAC) are taking a proactive approach by letting thieves know ‘We’re Watching you’, through a number of eye-catching posters going up around the city.

The message is clear ‘if you commit a theft, we are going to tell all our members – the shops and businesses - about you - don’t do it!’

EBAC works very closely with Exeter City Council’s CCTV Control Room and the Police. All members and the Police are connected via a radio network. Therefore as soon as a suspect steps into a store the information spreads very quickly across the network.

If people are considered to be behaving suspiciously in stores they can and will be asked to leave.

Shoplifting is a serious crime. A recent report by The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) estimates shop theft cost £6.3bn in 2017 – equivalent to £270 for every household in the country. CSJ’s research estimates up to 70% of shop theft is committed by drug dependent criminals in order to fund their lifestyle.

Methods range from individuals simply grabbing one item and walking out of a shop to organised groups who can net £1,000+ in a single swoop. However, it is the prolific offenders who are seen in the city on a daily basis, who cause the most damage to businesseses. 

This impacts massively upon the profitability of traders and particularly the smaller independent businesses which have no security team.

If members of the public see a shoplifter in action, they are being asked to alert a member of staff. Each business has its own policy on what to do. Witnesses should not take matters into their own hands.

There are cameras throughout the city and almost all businesses have their own system installed. EBAC members have a data protection policy which allows them to share relevant information about offenders, i.e. images and names.

The aim of the posters is to inform criminals they are being watched and will be recognised. All the members of EBAC want to deter and disrupt the criminals who may destroy their business.