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More than 100 shoplifters arrested in Sydney

More than 100 people have been arrested for shoplifting as part of a three-day crackdown in Sydney.

Police launched Operation Lightfingers on Wednesday and arrested 108 people, who were charged with 120 offences, before the operation ended on Friday.

Shoplifters were targeted throughout a number of major retail outlets across the Sydney CBD, Broadway, Redfern and Bondi Junction.

Police recovered more than $17,300 worth of stolen goods.

Four people were charged, 42 were issued notices to attend court, 47 were issued criminal infringement notices and 15 were issued warnings, police said on Saturday.

Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Bell said the festive season sees an increase in customers and can create opportunities for shoplifters.

“The busy period of Christmas with the influx of shoppers can often be seen as an opportunistic time for potential shoplifters to target retailers while staff members are busy with customers,” Det Ch Insp Bell said.

Research by the National Retail Association found retail crime costs the industry around $3 billion per year, when the cost of lost output, replacement stock and property damage are taken into account.

“The industry is seeing increasing crime in every jurisdiction across Australia, we are very concerned that police resourcing is simply not keeping pace with the volume and sophistication of retail crime,” NRA manager of industry policy David Stout said.

“Retail crime doesn’t just cost retailers financially, it is now the biggest single trigger for violence and verbal abuse against trailers and their staff.”

According to NRA research, 90 per cent of retailers have reported an increase in violent and aggressive customer behaviour.

Stout said business owners should ensure staff are properly trained to spot these shoplifters before they act. Visible CCTV and an open store layout are key deterrents, as well as having a prominent staff presence on the shop floor.

With only one in every 100 incidents being reported, Stout said retailers should notify police of any acts of theft, regardless of size, in order to ensure the authorities have an accurate reflection of the scope of the issue.

“We need to dramatically increase this reporting rate, so police can deploy the relevant resources in the future.”

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