Retailers estimate shoplifting costs at £2bn a year - or £90 a year for each one of us. And as shoplifters face nothing more than an £80 fixed penalty notice these days, where's the disincentive? Of course, the real sufferers are the poor; I wrote a while ago -
Funny old thing, the free market. A leaked Home Office letter predicts a rise in crime - acquisitive crime in particular - as a result of the recession. This will mean more burglary, vehicle thefts and, in London in particular, street robbery as well as a plague of shop thefts. The people hardest hit will be the poorest living in the most deprived areas - traditional Labour voters. As supermarkets raise their prices to pay for theft losses and increased security the poor again will bear the brunt. Crime is an irritation to the insured middle classes, but a curse to the poor. Heroin addicts tend to burgle within a 400m radius of their council flats to feed their habits - and it's the plasma TVs, wiis and Christmas presents of their fellow council tenants that are most at risk.The Standard reports that Tesco have had a 36% year-on-year increase in shoplifting. And we've hardly even entered the recession yet. Who knows; if things get really sticky next year, the middle classes may join in, scorning the £80 FPN for a bagful of 'Finest' comestibles. Perhaps a thriving wine-bar trade in stolen Queen Scallops and Lemongrass will develop, or you'll be offered a pack of duck breasts with the security tag crudely removed.
O tempera o mores!