Vancouver police have announced the arrest of 258 individuals and the recovery of nearly $57,000 worth of stolen items as part of their recent shoplifting crackdown. The operation, which lasted for 16 days in September, resulted in the seizure of 26 weapons. The arrests were made in coordination with other police departments in the Lower Mainland, leading to an additional 82 arrests in Delta, Langley, Richmond, and Burnaby.
According to Tony Hunt, the general manager for loss prevention at London Drugs, retailers across Canada have witnessed a significant increase in retail theft, with most experiencing a minimum 20% rise in recent years. Hunt expressed gratitude for the city police’s efforts in addressing the issue, emphasizing the concern for the safety of employees and customers due to the escalating violence associated with retail theft.
Vancouver Staff Sgt. Mario Mastropieri highlighted that the recent crackdown resulted in a 22% decrease in violent shoplifting citywide. However, he acknowledged that more work needs to be done to ensure everyone feels safe. Mastropieri also noted that while shoplifting can be driven by poverty, mental health, or addiction issues, there is also an organized crime aspect contributing to the growing losses.
The retail community, represented by Tony Hunt, expressed appreciation for the Vancouver Police and other law enforcement agencies for their focus on combating prolific retail theft and addressing the abuse and violence that concerns both retailers and their employees. Hunt emphasized the importance of collaboration between businesses, police, courts, and social support systems to ensure community safety.
This latest shoplifting crackdown follows a previous operation in the spring, during which 355 individuals were arrested. The issue of retail theft and its associated violence has also led to the closure of several Target stores in the United States.