‘These are serious times’: Shoplifting up 77% in Winnipeg

Shoplifting is so rampant in Winnipeg’s stores that national retailers pause before opening stores downtown and police data shows a startling rise over the past year.Winnipeg saw a 77 per cent increase last year in the theft of store merchandise under $5,000, according to police data.“Every retailer deals with theft in one degree or another,” John Graham from the Retail Council of Canada (RCC) said.“These are serious times that require serious focus.”
Story continues below

“When you look, on average, over $172 million annually is stolen from Manitoba retailers,” Graham said. “That’s a $172 million direct impact on consumers, really. It’s enormous.”READ MORE: Teens arrested after video of ‘chaotic’ Liquor Mart theft posted onlineAcross the country, Canadian retailers lose more than $7.8 billion a year to shoplifters, according to the RCC.It’s happening in grocery stores, clothing stores and drug stores. No store is immune.Many Canadian companies say their downtown Winnipeg store is one of their top stores for shoplifting across the country, according to data provided by the RCC.“Winnipeg in particular is in that Top 5 across the country in pockets of communities,” Graham said. “It has got the attention nationally by our members and (they) are quite concerned.”It’s so worrisome, some national retailers skip over Winnipeg’s downtown and choose not to open stores here.“People are concerned about placing stores downtown. You look at some of the retailers that are here and they’ve got experience across the country where downtown is a terrific place to be located,” said Graham.“In Winnipeg it does give retailers a pause for second thought as far as whether there’s a net benefit to having their location in this area.”WATCH: Liquor Mart security changes to combat theft problem