Retail crime on the rise

New figures from the BRC show a nine-year high in theft, and an 80% increase in technology-based crimes

Retail crime on the rise

For many, it is a cynical and infinitely sad truth that crime is an element of modern life. And the latest figures from the British Retail Consortium indicate that retail businesses of all sizes are not exempt from this unfortunate rule. However, with the BRC Retail Crime Survey suggesting that business crime has seen a worrying surge in the last year – with the highest level of theft for nine years and an 80% increase in technology-based crimes – are entrepreneurs and small business owners fighting a losing battle to keep their enterprise secure?

Laura Davies, crime policy lead for the BRC thinks not. Speaking exclusively to Elite Business, she spoke of the important role that authoritative forces in society can play in the prevention of crime. “I certainly wouldn’t say we’re fighting a losing battle,” she said. “The key to a lot of this is closer work with the police. They’re doing a lot of work around fraud because they’ve clocked this is a massive issue.”

Davies believes there are some simple yet effective measures that all corporations could look into as a way of tackling the growing threat of cybercrime.

“There’s a lot that firms can do,” she explained. “Larger businesses need to invest an awful lot of money, the smaller end perhaps find it more of a challenge, partly due to resources but also a lack of knowledge.

“That being said, guidance is out there, like Cyber Streetwise, to take simple steps to make your business safe. Things like-anti-virus software, strong passwords and implementing safe policies around mobile working.”

But are such measures enough to deter the most accomplished of criminals? With the anonymity and resources afforded by technologies, it would seem that drastic steps need to be taken when seeking to eradicate this problem; a challenge readily acknowledged by Davies.

“At the moment it’s fair to say the criminals are one step ahead and fraud is an area where this is particularly acute because the law just hasn’t been keeping pace with the measures they’re using. How criminals commit crime is changing, and technology makes it easier.”

So the world of your habitual criminal may be evolving, but so, it would seem, is our approach to dealing with them. As legislation tightens and the definition of business crime solidifies, the art of catching a thief is becoming easier too.

Davies concluded: “At top level, we want a definition of business crime introduced, because if you can’t measure a problem then you can’t go about tackling it.”

Seems like time may finally be running out for the criminal elements of society.


Amy-Louise Roberts
Amy-Louise Roberts

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