Shoplifters concern city retailers

Central city retailers, already feeling the pinch with slow sales, say matters have been made worse by an increase in shoplifting.

One central city business manager had noticed a spike in the number of thefts from his store in the past month and said other retailers had noticed the same.

The man, who did not want to be identified, said items that were being taken were not small but big piles of stock.

"It isn't just the little things. We have been talking and it just seems as though people are taking things to order."

The man would not disclose what items were taken because he did not want people to identify the store.

He said the spate of thefts was concerning several retailers.

"Things are difficult for retailers; a lot of us have been struggling as it is. This just makes it worse," he said.

"I don't know if it is because times are tough for people or if it is something else." He said incidents like this were disappointing for retailers.

"At the end of the day, you put your trust in your customers and this almost ruins that."

Another retailer who spoke to The Daily Post had also noticed an increase in thefts not only from his store but from people in the store.

He did not want to be identified for fear of becoming an "easy target" for would-be thieves.

He said cellphones belonging to customers had been taken recently. "The customers had placed their phones down while doing something else and then they were taken."

He said this had happened at least three times in recent weeks.

"Sometimes you think it is just because kids are on holiday and they are bored or just want to cause trouble," he said.

"I have to tell customers about it and it is embarrassing. You don't want them to think they will be robbed when they are in your shop."

Inspector Ed Van Den Broek of the Rotorua police did not comment on whether there had been an increase in crime in the central city but said extra patrols had been put in place to address the possible influx of young people during the holidays.

"These staff have been providing a visible deterrent to young people who may be thinking of offending," he said.

"This is over and above the Rotorua District Council City Guardians, who are also providing high-profile visibility in the central business district."

Mr Van Den Broek said CCTV in the central city also gave police the ability to monitor large areas at a time and had been successful in tracking offenders in the central city in the past week.

"The feedback from a lot of shopkeepers and members of the public has been very positive and are pleased to see the extra security provided during the school holidays," he said.

"Shop workers concerned about theft from shops need to ensure they keep their personal items out of sight or locked away from would-be thieves."

- Rotorua Daily Post

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