Sponsored by Lane Powell

Oregon shoplifting rates increase

| Print |  Email
Archives - August 2008
Friday, August 01, 2008

Shoplifting THE 5-FINGER DISCOUNT GETS BIGGER


STATEWIDE Shoplifting is an enduring nuisance but in tough economic times the problem goes from bad to worse.

As unemployment rises and goods become pricier, the temptation to steal only intensifies. “We have long seen the inverse relationship between the economy and crime,” says Portland State University criminologist Lynette Feder. “Often they’re doing it just to get by.”

It’s the staples such as food and clothes that are being targeted, says Mark Doyle, president of Jack L. Hayes International, a national loss-prevention firm based in Florida. The company publishes an annual report on nationwide shoplifting trends. In 2006, thieves stole more than $6 billion worth of goods from 23 major retailers.

Exact figures are hard to get because businesses generally don’t elaborate on their own shoplifting headaches to avoid being seen as a place that attracts criminal activity, says Robert Swanberg, owner of Gateway Services, a Portland-based security consulting firm. Also, many businesses deal with caught shoplifters internally, often with civil citations or threats to prosecute if they return.

But even those crimes reported show an increase. In Portland, crime was down in all categories for the first half of 2008 except shoplifting, say police, which is up 83 incidents from the same time period last year, 2,142 to 2,225. Eugene police have seen an 11% jump from 2006.

Dan Floyd, spokesman for Safeway in Oregon, says shoplifting is increasing, with food and easily resold items such as baby diapers and shaving razor blades being hot targets. Shoplifting accounts for $10 million in annual company loses in the state, says Floyd.

Many of the bigger retailers are less focused on small-time shoplifters than they are on organized retail crime. Last year Floyd, then a lobbyist for the Northwest Grocery Association, spearheaded and helped pass a bill mandating stronger enforcement and stiffer penalties for people in possession with intent to resell stolen merchandise worth more than $5,000.

Swanberg says laying off workers in a faltering economy only compounds the problem. Fewer workers on the floor emboldens thieves, leading to more swiped goods. “The big stores suffer the most,” he says.

Target, which has 17 stores in Oregon, says it’s also seeing more theft. In response, the company is training workers in preventative customer service skills, using more surveillance equipment and pushing for stronger shoplifting laws.

For some business though, shoplifting is a boon. “I am getting more phone calls every day,” security firm boss Swanberg says.

JASON SHUFFLER

 

More Articles

Fixing Oregon’s broken roads

The Latest
Tuesday, June 09, 2015
RUCCostComparison rev4-30BY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

The technology at the center of Oregon’s road usage fee reform.


Read more...

Oregon needs a Grand Bargain energy plan

Linda Baker
Monday, June 22, 2015
0622-gastaxblogthumbBY LINDA BAKER

The Clean Fuels/gas tax trade off will go down in history as another disjointed, on-again off-again approach to city and state lawmaking.


Read more...

Downtime with John Helmick

June 2015
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Live, Work, Play: CEO of Gorilla Capital.


Read more...

Sun set

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY CHRIS NOBLE

The right sunglasses can protect your eyes and look cool at the same time. This being the 21st century, select shades are socially conscious, too. Portland brand Shwood uses wood and other natural materials and manufactures locally. Founded by Ann Sacks, the brand Fetch dedicates a portion of its profits to animal welfare. But whether you choose classic tortiseshell or aviator chic, please, shed the sunglasses when you walk in the door — and, of course, at night. 


Read more...

Hall of Flame

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

A Power Lunch at Oswego Grill.


Read more...

6 key things to know about summer baseball in Oregon

The Latest
Friday, June 05, 2015
basedthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

As temperatures in Oregon creep into the 90s this weekend, Oregonians' thoughts are turning to — summer baseball.


Read more...

Green workplace 2.0

Linda Baker
Thursday, May 28, 2015
IMG 2808BY LINDA BAKER | EDITOR

Reinventing capitalism. Office dumpster divers. Handprints versus carbon footprints.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS