According to a loss prevention expert, Manitoba retailers have likely experienced a significant rate of shoplifting-related shrinkage in recent years — a problem the province is trying to combat with its new retail crime task force.
Stephen O’Keefe told 680 CJOB the shrinkage rate in the United States grew to a record high last year — from 1.38 per cent to 1.62 per cent — and Manitoba is following the same trend.
“We are experiencing the same type of activity and we’re expecting our shrinkage is likely similar to the U.S. experience,” he said, noting that Canada tends to mirror trends south of the border.
“Police have been reluctant to process shoplifting cases because the courts won’t take them, and then the police have a slower response time because they know they’re not going to prosecute.”
Manitoba justice minister Cliff Cullen said Tuesday that the new task force is up to the challenge of reducing shoplifting.
“In the past three years, retailers have seen retail thefts increase by over 125 per cent, and violent crime targeted at businesses and employees is also on the rise,” said Cullen.
“The Manitoba government is pleased to partner with the private sector to create this new task force, which will work collaboratively to address these issues and support retail communities throughout the province.”
The task force, which came out of recommendations from January round-table meetings with more than 90 participants from across Manitoba businesses in both the private and public sectors, includes representatives from Manitoba Justice, Winnipeg police, RCMP, national, local and independent retailers, private security firms, Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries, Commissionaires Manitoba and the Retail Council of Canada.
“Manitoba is leading the way in its collaborative response to crime that is undermining the safety and viability of retailer stores across this province,” said the Retail Council’s John Graham.
We are appreciative of this community response to addressing this issue and enthusiastically anticipating the impact the efforts of this task force will have on creating safer communities and stores.”