New project to combat Campbelltown’s shoplifting problem

Campbelltown is one of the state’s shoplifting hotspots.

The area is ranked 11th in NSW for “steal from retail store” offences, with 815 incidents recorded in 2017.

The state government has awarded $75,000 to Campbelltown Council for a project to try and put a stop to thefts.

Parliamentary secretary for youth employment in western Sydney and Camden MP Chris Patterson said the funds would be used to create a safer environment for shopkeepers and their customers.

“The community’s business owners work hard to provide for their families and we don’t want to see their profit margins eroded by shoplifters,” Mr Patterson said.

“Business owners will able to develop new skills to avoid their store being targeted by light-fingered thieves.

“There will be a strong focus on ‘space activation’ – where the layout of shopping centres and stores will be modified to attract legitimate shoppers, reduce fear of crime and make it harder for thieves to avoid detection.

“We want the community to socialise and take pride in their local shopping districts and report any crime to police as soon as they see it.” 

Campbelltown Council will work with local police to identify shoplifting hotspots.

A council spokeswoman said the project would help make these precincts more resistant to shoplifting.

“Theft from retail has been chosen as a focus because it is one of the few crimes that is not reducing in Campbelltown,” she said.

“The money is will help us to work with some of our retailers in our smaller centres to reduce theft and to build community cohesion and strong vibrant places.

“It is well documented that communities with high levels of co-operation and belonging have lower rates of crime.”

The spokeswoman said council would use the funds to trial a new approach to combat shoplifting.

“Utilising the approach used for Love Leumeah, it is planned to be a positive campaign assisting interested retailers to strengthen their strategies to reduce opportunities for theft from their premises,” she said.

“A majority of the funding will go toward programs, with some funds to employ part time project staff to work with existing council staff to carry out this strategy.”

Funding for the project is provided by the NSW Department of Justice’s Safer Community Compact program.