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German retail association demands more consistent punishment against shoplifting

The number of shoplifting cases in Germany increased by more than 23 percent to over 426,000 cases compared to the previous year 2023. This is shown by published Police Crime Statistics. The German Retail Association (HDE) urgently demands more consistent criminal prosecution of shoplifting in view of these significantly increasing numbers and points to a high number of unreported cases.

The UK also reported an increase in shoplifting and adopted new legislation that makes violence against retailers a criminal offence.

'These are unsustainable conditions, shoplifting is not a trivial matter. A functioning rule of law must not turn a blind eye to the current trend, but must react decisively to deterrence. The losses for retail companies amount to several billion euros per year. The rule of law must finally enforce the protection of property effectively and permanently,' said Stefan Genth, Managing Director of the HDE.

Photo © Steve Lovegrove |

In older Police Crime Statistics, there was regularly reference to the very large figure. The HDE continues to assume that the figure for shoplifting is still more than 90 percent. Because in many cases, the police are not informed, and no report is filed. 'Many retail companies report that the reported shoplifters often get away without major consequences. As a result, frustration grows, and often the effort of a report, which is too often in vain, is spared. Therefore, it must be clear: Those who steal in retail must also be punished noticeably.' Anything else endangers the acceptance and respect for the rule of law.

In particular, serious shoplifting, such as organised by gangs, is a major problem for the retail sector. Here, the number of offences increased by around 26 percent compared to the previous year. 'This involves highly professionally organised gangs committing mass shoplifting with great readiness for violence. Justice and the police must show these gangs their limits, and the decision not to prosecute must not be considered from the outset in cases of professional or gang-organised forms of commission,' Genth continued. This also involves better cooperation between police authorities and public prosecutors in the individual federal states. Criminals do not respect national borders, so the exchange between law enforcement agencies must become even more intensive.

More information:
Handelsverband Deutschland (HDE)

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