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Shoplifting is increasing in Poland. “They steal for basic, life reasons”

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There was a time when there was virtually no theft of butter or dairy products. Today it is becoming more and more common. The number of shopliftings increased by a quarter compared to 2022 and by as much as 60 percent compared to 2021.

The scale of shoplifting is terrifying. Store employees say it has never been this bad. – Thefts are on a very large scale. These are even fruits, these are apples, oranges, cheese, butter – says Nina Herter, a grocery store saleswoman.

Just a few years ago, most shoplifting was committed by thieves who sold the stolen goods for profit. – A few years ago, these were more luxurious goods, such as alcohol and perfumes – says Grzegorz Wojtasik, vice-president of the Polish Association of Employers Ochrona. Now mainly basic food items are stolen from stores. On weekends, large stores experience even several dozen thefts a day. – Senior woman caught 25 times. It turned out that she had committed these thefts from the same store. She stole mushrooms and celery, such basic things – says Edyta Kochlewska, editor-in-chief of the portal dlahandlu.pl.

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The scale of shoplifting is increasing rapidly. Police statistics show that the number of thefts has increased by 60 percent over the last two years. The number of offenses, i.e. theft of goods worth less than PLN 800, has increased by over 45 percent in two years. – The store owner must keep his eyes open, because not only the so-called suspicious person can steal something from him, but also, as it turns out, an old woman or a very young teenager – warns Edyta Kochlewska.

Shoplifters used to be mostly between 20 and 40 years old. Now a large proportion of them are teenagers and seniors. Many people caught red-handed simply state hunger as the reason for stealing. – They steal for basic, life reasons. They simply have nothing to eat, says Dr. Leszek Mellibruda, a social psychologist. – This is a sign of some kind of poverty. This is a very bad signal. The second thing is that food prices have recently increased the most – adds Dr. Sławomir Dudek, president of the Institute of Public Finance at the Warsaw School of Economics.

Adam Glapiński: inflation will return to the NBP target within three monthsTVN24

Alarming statistics

From 2020 to 2023, the price of a half-kilogram loaf of bread increased by 76 percent, a kilogram of sugar – by 114 percent, a liter of milk – by 50 percent, and a liter of rapeseed oil – by 46 percent. It could be even worse. – Fewer security staff, i.e. self-service checkouts, i.e. no monitoring. These are the elements that make it easier for perpetrators to commit this category of crime, says Junior Inspector Katarzyna Nowak from the Police Headquarters.

For several months now, it has also been easier to avoid punishment for theft. The value of stolen items increased from PLN 500 to PLN 800, below which theft is considered an offense. The penalty for an offense is a fine or a ticket.

Main photo source: Fakty TVN

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