Data from 300 Pak’nSave, New World and Four Square stores in the North Island shows retail crime has increased by 59% in a year.
A report based on data from 300 supermarkets around the North Island shows retail crime has increased by 59% over the past year.
Serious incidents reported by Foodstuffs stores such as assault, robbery and burglary have more than doubled year on year, and are already up 13% between May and July, compared to the February-April period.
Repeat offenders were involved in over one-third of all incidents, and the number of incidents they committed grew by 44% to 1862 across the North Island’s New World, Pak’nSave and Four Square stores.
Assaults in store are increasing, with 54 separate attacks, mostly on frontline staff, in the last three months alone – up from 39 in the previous quarter, and 16 in the same period in 2022.
Shoplifting accounted for three-quarters of all offences, and was up 78% year-on-year.
“Our frontline staff are continuing to be confronted by the worst of it,” Chris Quin, chief executive of Foodstuffs North Island, said.
“We’re now seeing on average four assaults every week, with five of our people having to take time off work after being physically injured by this violent behaviour. It’s utterly unacceptable.”
In the last three months there were 308 incidents recorded where trespass notices were breached by repeat offenders, up 21% on the last quarter.
“We know many offenders are targeting premium cuts of meat, health and beauty products and alcohol and we know the biggest problem is repeat offending,” he said.
“It’s the same people turning up at our stores time and time again – a trespass notice doesn’t stop them – and when confronted they can get aggressive.”
The Labour Government has faced considerable political pressure over the increase in retail crime, and ramraids.
Meanwhile, National Party police spokesperson Mark Mitchell has promised to resign if things don’t improve in a year under a National-led government, should one be elected.
Supermarket staff are also being abused by customers who are angry over the rising cost of food.
A Countdown spokesperson said the abuse was unacceptable.
“On top of the abuse our team have received over the last couple of years about Covid-19 health and safety measures in our stores, we’re unfortunately also starting to see customers take out their frustrations regarding food prices on our team too,” she said.
The Stats NZ food price index for April 2022 showed food prices were 6.4% higher in April this year than last.