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Small business does not mean small crime

Media Release

01 June 2000

Media release from Senator, the Hon Amanda Vanstone, Minister for Justice and Customs

Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Amanda Vanstone, today announced a new service for small business, to help overcome crime problems in the retail sector.

Senator Vanstone announced the service, in releasing the latest research paper from the Australian Institute of Criminology; Understanding and Controlling Retail Theft.

"Retail theft is a serious problem with retailers in one state, New South Wales, facing losses of $700 million per year," Senator Vanstone said.

"Small business is particularly vulnerable. The collapse of many small businesses may be due, in part, to their inability to stop theft or fraud."

"Tobacco products, health and beauty items (including analgesics), recorded music and videos, and designer label clothing are the most popular items stolen from shops."

"People aged under 20 are the most common offenders. The typical offender engages in approximately 95 offences before being apprehended."

"Shop thefts can be difficult to detect. Often businesses only find out about crimes that are committed against them by customers, employees, or vendors after the event, such as at stock-taking time."

"As is the case with all crime, prevention is better than prosecution."

"There are a number of things which can be done by small businesses to make goods more difficult to steal. The use of ink tags, which permanently marks a garment if removed inappropriately, reduced stock loss by more than 40 per cent in a US study."

"The Federal Government is providing $835,000 to the Australian Institute of Criminology for the establishment of a Crime Prevention Extension Service for Small Business."

"The Service will help reduce offences such as burglary, theft, vandalism and fraud by identifying and advising businesses on specific design, layout and security issues which can be utilised to help reduce theft."

"Businesses such as service stations, pharmacies, delis, newsagents, motels, will be considered for the first pilot programs."