Shoppers and retailers urged to be vigilant of theft over Christmas season

Gardaí say shoplifting at Christmas time in 2015 cost Irish retailers €55 million

Shoppers and retailers urged to be vigilant of theft over Christmas season

File photo of Grafton Street in Dublin during Christmas shopping season. Image: RollingNews.ie

Gardaí are urging shoppers and retailers to be vigilant of theft over the Christmas season.

According to Garda figures, shoplifting at Christmas time last year cost Irish retailers €55 million - more than a fifth of the total cost of €255m in 2015.

The busiest times for shoplifting are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and almost two-thirds of incidents take place between 12pm and 6pm.

While the level of theft from shops has fallen by an estimated 2.7%, gardaí are urging vigilance. 

Sergeant Kelvin Courtney - from the Garda Bureau of Community Engagement Unit - said: "The four main items stolen from retailers are groceries, alcohol, clothing and cosmetics. It is noticeable that thefts from clothes stores increase sharply just before Christmas and we also see a considerable increase of thefts from pharmacies, largely involving cosmetic thefts, throughout November and December. 

"Employing more staff at [busy] times, training staff on retail security, displaying high value products away from entrance doors or behind security cabinets, installing and maintaining CCTV systems and ensuring cameras are not blocked by sale signs are just some of the ways retailers can improve their security.”

Meanwhile, the figures also show that €400,000 worth of goods were stolen from shoppers’ cars last year, with an average loss of €600 per incident.

Sergeant Courtney suggests that "customers should be careful while shopping".

"Always park in well-lit and secure areas," he explained. "When you leave your car, lock all doors and windows and double check to make sure. Don’t leave property or cash on view, take it with you. Report all thefts and suspicious activities to staff or Gardaí."

He also highlighted that there are 100 thefts from customers in shops every month, and that handbags are often targeted when left in trolleys or hanging on buggies.