During an eight-day retail theft crackdown in Victoria, police officers made 109 arrests and recovered more than $29,000 in stolen items.
Victoria police worked with retail loss prevention staff to locate and arrest chronic shoplifters at various stores in the city between Nov. 27 and Dec. 5.
Of the 109 individuals arrested, 21 had outstanding warrants and they had a total of 1,103 previous criminal convictions, including 186 violent offences.
“The results of this project are staggering and clearly indicate that even though there has been a decline in shoplifting reports, retail theft continues to be a huge problem in our city,” Victoria Police Chief Del Manak said in a press release. ” A project like this takes considerable planning, coordination and resources, and we encourage businesses to report retail theft so we can prioritize current resources, access additional funding and continue taking action against chronic shoplifting and the violence related to retail theft.”
The funding for the operation comes from the provincial government’s Safer Communities Action Plan.
“Coordinating with VicPD on this project helps to address some of the issues our retail employees face every day,” Tony Hunt, general manager for London Drugs loss prevention, said in a statement. “Violence and threats are an increasing aspect of retail theft. Effectively dealing with these crimes is of interest to the public, as everyone pays for retail crime, and all of us know someone who works in retail and is impacted by retail crime. We are grateful for the police support, and we need to continue this type of collaborative enforcement involving police, government, our courts, corrections, social services, and retailers.”
Manak explained that officers with their outreach section are working with arrested individuals to offer information on access to housing, substance use, and other community supports.