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Retail crime and shoplifting

Clothing racks at a boutique.

According to the Retail Council of Canada, retailers lose up to $3 billion a year or $8 million a day due to theft and shoplifting alone. Credit card and debit card fraud, robbery, break and enter and counterfeit currency are other retail crimes that significantly affect retail sales, consumer costs, and the safety of employees and customers.

Reporting retail crime

Call 9-1-1 if you witness a crime in progress or are involved in an emergency situation.

Non-emergency situations can be reported by calling 403-266-1234.

Preventing and dealing with retail crime

Business owners can take photographs of individuals they believe are committing a crime. However, a business should post a sign warning criminals that all activities will be recorded on video tape and this data will aid in the prosecution of any crime committed against that business. It is legal to share these photos and video with other businesses as long as this is done to assist with a police investigation or other proceeding. You can share your photos with a law enforcement agency, as long as the photos will assist that agency with either an investigation or a decision to undertake an investigation (please see the Privacy Act for more information.)

Each store has different policies and they should inform the offender how long they are banned from the premises at the time of arrest either verbally or in writing. If the offender returns to the store before the ban is expired, they are arrest​able for trespassing by loss prevention/security. Police then have the authority to issue a summons for trespassing under the Trespass to Premises Act of Alberta or take the offender to jail for trespassing under Section 41 of the Criminal code.

Retailers, managers and loss prevention officer are not permitted to arrest individuals with warrants or who they suspect of committing retail crime. That action is reserved for police officers only. Anyone can make an arrest, but only when they witness someone committing an indictable offence or a criminal offence on their property.

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If you'd like to learn more about preventing and dealing with retail crime, check out the following resources: