Retail theft was the second most reported crime in Tauranga over the past few years.

Since July 2014, businesses have reported more than 3500 thefts, according to police statistics.

The amount of retail theft in Tauranga city has remained reasonably constant in that time, averaging out to between 105 and 110 reports a month.

Nationwide, retail theft rose steadily until late last year then dropped significantly.

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Retail crime costs New Zealand more than $1.2 billion a year. Earlier this year Retail New Zealand called for changes to how the Government manages retail crime.

The organisation wanted three things:

• A government-funded retail crime taskforce that has targets for retail crime reduction
• A programme to change social attitudes about retail crime
• A new infringement for low-value offending

The Retail New Zealand report found retail crime was frequently not reported to the police.

"This is because retailers often feel there is no point because retail crime is not treated as an urgent priority."

Western Bay of Plenty Police acting area commander Inspector Zane Smith said police staff were committed to preventing crime, including shoplifting.

"We encourage every instance of shoplifting to be reported to the police as soon as possible - the sooner, the better.

"All information is recorded and reports are followed up on."

Mr Smith said police worked with Tauranga retailers on preventing theft as well as responding to incidents.

"Police are working with Retail New Zealand to identify strategies in prevention of retail crime, as well as working with Auror to prevent retail crime through identifying offenders, which can ultimately lead to resolutions."

Identifying offenders in near real time was a strategy being employed by Mount Mainstreet retailers.

Shop staff have increased communication to make the area a hard target for shoplifters, Mount Mainstreet manager Ingrid Fleming said.

"Whenever anything happens, they send me an email or call me and I send something out to all the retailers in the vicinity.

"Very often we get a photo or a video from a security camera."

While thieves were often caught on their way out of the shop, the goal was to make it harder for thieves to hit multiple stores in a short period of time.

"We want to be able to jump on people that have the gall to feed off other people's hard work," said Ms Fleming.

Quick facts about retail theft

Retail theft in Tauranga City, July 2014 to March 2015.

- 1pm on a Tuesday was the most common day and time
- Monday was the most common day overall, followed by Friday
- The least common day was Sunday, followed by Saturday
- Thefts spike from noon to 4pm, peaking at 2pm.

- Source policedata.nz
Top tips to prevent shoplifting

Inspector Zane Smith's advice for shop owners.

1. Install CCTV
Using signage, make it obvious to shoppers that the CCTV is present which can act as a deterrent.

2. Work on the physical layout of your store
There should be a clear line of sight to all areas of the store because "blind spots" make it easy for items to be hidden. This might involve a rearrangement of your store, the use of mirrors, and/or asking the police for further advice.

3. Place high-value items out of the way
Keep items of value behind the counter and/or in secure cabinets.

Retail theft hotspots

The meshblocks - small geographic areas based on Census boundaries - containing these shopping spots had the highest reported retail theft from July 2014 to March 2017.

-Bayfair
- Gate Pa Shopping Centre
- Fraser Cove
- 9th to 11th Ave between Cameron Rd and St John St (includes The Warehouse)
- Papamoa Plaza

- Source policedata.nz