Shoplifters plaguing Jamaican supermarkets
KINGSTON, Jamaica, Monday June 4, 2012 – Reports coming from store owners across thriving shopping districts in Jamaica is that shoplifting is on the rise.
According to reports in the media, some grocery store operators have expressed deep concerns that the situation could worsen given high levels of unemployment on the island.
One store manager in the Corporate Area has said supermarkets are already being asked to bear some of the costs associated with the engagement of additional security personnel, or the implementation of electronic monitoring systems.
While the problem are severe in the Corporate Area, it is also said to be affecting supermarket operators in other densely populated sections of the country, including Spanish Town in St Catherine and May Pen, Clarendon.
Managers and operators of several supermarkets are reportedly of the opinion that the acts of theft are being carried out mostly by women and children from lower and middle-income homes.
One manager at a Shoppers Fair in May Pen has said that t was not uncommon for employees to apprehend shoplifters with items valuing in excess of JAM$8,000.
The situation is reportedly similar at the Spanish Town-based HiLo supermarket where the thieves are reportedly moving beyond basic food items to products such as baby feed, energy drinks and other supplements.
A senior manager is said to have described the problem as worsening since January with arrests being made regular.
Morevor, the culprits are reportedly not fitting the usual profile of a shoplifter, but appear well dressed.
In January, a 45-year-old fashion designer was caught stealing over JAM $3,000 worth of grocery from an Empire supermarket, resulting in a $50,000 sentence or six months’ imprisonment.
In other instances, some thieves are in possession of more than sufficient funds to pay for the items stolen, leading some observers to consider that they might be committing the crimes for the thrill.
One Cross Roads Empire supermarket has gone to the extreme of naming and shaming the thieves by displaying at the entrance to the supermarket and other heavily trafficked areas of the establishment photographs of persons caught stealing items from them.
The St Andrew Central Police confirmed to the media that there had been an increase in the number of shoplifting cases. Superintendent McArthur Sutherland said 10 cases were reported for all of 2011, but since this year began 10 cases have already been reported.