The 2016 ACS Crime Report has revealed that crime against local shops is costing an estimated £122m, or £2,370 per store.
On top of this, the average store is investing £1,379 in crime prevention. The total costs of crime and crime prevention equate to the cost of employing more than 12,000 additional full time staff in stores.
Shop theft remains the most prevalent form of retail crime against convenience retailers, costing a total of £43m across the sector. There were also 7,455 recorded incidents of staff theft, costing a total of £19m, while 15% of stores were the victim of either a robbery or a burglary.
However, the costs of crime were not just financial, with 10,000 shop workers injured in attacks last year, and more than half of convenience store staff suffering verbal abuse.
Commenting on the findings, the minister for preventing abuse, exploitation and crime, Karen Bradley, said: “This Government takes all crime very seriously, and I applaud the ACS for all their hard work to help retailers to prevent and tackle the specific issues they face.
“These crimes can have a significant impact on the shops affected, both in terms of the immediate effects and in dealing with the consequences. We are working closely with the ACS through the National Retail Crime Steering Group, which I am pleased to co-chair. The group brings retailers together with senior police officers and ministers to identify current and emerging problems and shape the response.
“Our Modern Crime Prevention Strategy, which is due to be published soon, will set out further plans for joint working with industry to prevent crime."
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “These figures should end once and for all the notion that shop theft is a victimless crime. Theft hurts local shop owners, thwarts investment in other areas of their business, and ultimately costs jobs.
“We need to see criminals who commit offences against retailers receiving tougher penalties, which means the police taking cases to court, and magistrates giving effective sentences based on the full impact of these crimes.
“The personal toll of crime is made clear in this report. Over 10,000 shop workers were injured in attacks last year, and over half of staff in stores experienced verbal abuse usually just for doing their job and making sure children can’t access products they are too young to buy.
“Our strategy is to work with the Home office and the police to tackle these challenges together and encourage retailers to build their own links with neighbourhood policing teams, PCSOs and Crime Prevention Partnerships at a local level.”