Crime Stoppers: Retail crime – it’s not a victimless crime

***PLEASE NOTE: Media inquiries and requests for interviews can be directed to Media Officer, Crime Stoppers NSW, Cecelia Haddad on phone: 0487 333 000 or email: [email protected] ***

Shoppers and retail workers are being urged to speak up and report retail crime, in the next phase of a partnership between Crime Stoppers NSW and the Australian Retailers Association (ARA).

Crime Stoppers NSW CEO, Mr Peter Price AM, said retail crime takes many forms from shoplifting to coordinated robbery by crime gangs, abuse, and assaults against retail workers.

“These crimes don’t only affect Australian retailers but the frontline workers and ultimately the community, that means families. We all have them or are part of one so be respectful,” he said.

“Australian retailers lose billions of dollars each year in stock loss, absenteeism, and workers compensation claims as a result of these crimes. Retail workers face threats and abuse, both verbal and physical, when confronting shoplifters, putting their own safety and that of nearby shoppers at risk.

In many cases, retail crime is well planned and coordinated, undertaken by people who are working together using smart phones and apps to identify, select and execute these crimes.

“This has a flow on effect to the wider community where customers are adversely impacted, whether its missing items due to shoplifting or coordinated crime gangs when essential products like baby formula are stolen creating supply shortages for customers.

The message of the campaign is if you see something, say something. Crime Stoppers is a trusted brand, and our community is aware they can report any crime, any time in complete confidence. Our message to shoppers and bystanders is, if something doesn’t look right, contact Crime Stoppers or if it’s an emergency or someone is in danger, contact Police on Triple Zero (000).

“There seems to be a view amongst some that it’s okay to yell at a worker or it’s fine to assault staff to get your own way and this is completely unacceptable,” said CEO, Australian Retailers Association, Mr Paul Zahra.

“We all know someone who works or has worked in retail – be it our children, parents, grandparents, or friends. Let’s remember this before lashing out at workers in frustration.

“Worse data shows that 60 percent of in-store thefts are perpetrated by the same 10 percent of individuals – the 10 percent club, who are four times more likely to resort to aggression.

“This issue is not just about major retail chain stores, small family businesses are also on the receiving end of abuse other crimes. These small businesses rely on every sale to keep their lights on and to continue employing staff, especially in regional areas.

“Whether its shoplifting, crime gang theft, threats or abuse, our frontline workers and the community are all affected and all at risk. All retail workers have a right to feel safe at work. It’s not the norm to be yelled at – or spat at – for doing your job. It’s certainly not the norm to be punched or groped or assaulted or intimidated with a weapon while at work,” Mr Zahra said.

Here are some tips for everyone to have a safer experience:

• Don’t put yourself at risk. If you are a bystander and see someone being threatened or abused, call Triple Zero immediately. Find a security guard and advise them of the danger.

• If you suspect someone is shoplifting, find a security guard or staff member and alert them. Take note of what they look like, are wearing, time, date, and location. This can help with reporting to catch the offender.

• If you have information about retail crime, contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit


• Since October 2021, retail theft has been steadily increasing, up 47.5% year on year to June 2023.

• The most frequently reported stolen items being alcohol (37% of incidents) followed by clothing (22% of incidents)

• Licenced premises and general wholesalers have recorded the biggest increase in stealing in retail over the past five years. Department or clothing stores and chemists have reported the largest decreases.

• $440 is the average value of items stolen.


Media inquiries and requests for interviews can be directed to Media Officer, Crime Stoppers NSW, Cecelia Haddad on phone: 0487 333 000 or email: [email protected]

Video messages and visuals of our social media campaign can be found HERE


/Public Release. View in full here.