Friday, 17 July 2015 - 11:30am |

Operation Shop targeting retail theft in Canterbury

2 min read

As part of an ongoing commitment to prevent opportunistic crime, Canterbury Police are mid-way through a one month prevention operation focussing on reducing retail theft in the District. 

Acting Senior Sergeant Huata Martindale says over the last five years there has been a significant peak in retail theft during July and August which coincides with the school holidays.  “In order to address this Canterbury Police have been undertaking high visibility patrols in shopping centres and malls across the District and working with retailers and business on simple steps they can take to prevent their businesses being targeted.”

“Retailers consult with Police and security providers throughout the year and involve them in initiatives to install deterrents such as CCTV.  This combined with adopting other strategies to prevent opportunistic crime has a positive benefit on a business’s bottom line.  The timely reporting of thefts allows Police and retailers to monitor social media and on-line forums and take steps that could not only lead to offenders being identified but help prevent the on-sale of stolen goods” 

“Retail theft is not a victimless crime and it is estimated that the estimated loss to retail businesses in Canterbury alone is estimated at around $1.8 million a week which is around $250,000 per day.  In the two weeks since the start of Operation Shop Police have arrested and charged over 75 people with dishonesty offences, which includes 11 youth who were referred to Youth Services.”

“One of the national retailers who are regularly targeted for theft of meat told Police they had seen a significant reduction in the level of stock loss, since Operation Shop started, particularly over the weekend.  It is not unusual to see stolen produce for sale on social media sites and Police encourage the community to report these posts and only purchase meat and groceries from reputable sources.  By reducing demand it will in turn reduce the reward to those who are committing these crimes and help to prevent future retail theft” explained Acting Senior Sergeant Martindale.

“Retailers themselves are also working together and using commercially available cloud-based applications to share information in a timely manner and notify other retailers of incidents, trends and active offenders.  This significant saving has a huge effect on the bottom line of small privately owned shops with low stock volume and a considerable benefit to larger retail chains.” 

“Police and retailers cannot prevent opportunistic crime alone and rely on the help of the community to stop this illegal activity and the social harm it causes. Our high visibility patrols in shopping malls have also allowed Police to interact with the public who want to see an end to this type of crime in their neighbourhood.  By working together we can make our District a place where everybody can be safe and feel safe” says Acting Senior Sergeant Martindale.

Canterbury Police encourage members of the public to report suspicious behaviour in and around shops and malls to a member of staff, security or Police to prevent retail theft.  Police understand that sometimes members of the public prefer to provide information anonymously and this can be done by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.


Issued by:  Lisa-Marie Brooks, District Communications Manager, Canterbury Police District.  Mobile:  021 942 404