Holidays a busy time for retail theft in Canada: Loss prevention expert

WINNIPEG — Just ahead of the holiday season when theft tends to spike, loss prevention experts from a number of local retailers were in Winnipeg on Wednesday to talk with law enforcement about ways to curb the crime.

“Today’s event is really about development and making connections within the actual market and talking about different solutions and tactics that we can get after to combat retail theft within the Winnipeg market,” said Marco Addesa, the regional loss prevention officer for Best Buy Canada,

The Security Intelligence Network hosted the professional development day at the Canad Inns Destination Centre.

Representatives from Home Depot, Canadian Tire, Staples, Hudson’s Bay and Sobey’s were on hand to talk with members of the Winnipeg Police Service and Manitoba Justice about identity theft, gift card fraud and currency scams.

Addesa said the holiday season is typically a heightened time for retail theft, as there are a lot more people in stores across the country getting ready for the time of year. 

 He notes the brazen, swarm thefts that have been happening in Winnipeg are not unique to the city.

“I don’t think it’s unique to any market in particular. They seem to pop up and we hear about them through certain media channels,” he said.

Addesa said with today’s technology it has become easier to identify repeat offenders or people who are coming into the store and targeting specific locations or products.

“We really try to understand why this is happening, no matter who the retailer is, and, with law enforcement’s support obviously, bring people before the courts,” he said.

Addesa notes one of the best ways to prevent theft is to approach every customer who comes into a store.

“What we’ve found over time is shoplifters or alleged shoplifters perhaps don’t want to be in that environment where they’re in a really great environment and getting great customer service. They’ll move on and perhaps do something different down the road.”

– With files from CTV’s Maralee Caruso.

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