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'Double dipping in loss': Shoplifting on the rise in Waterloo region


Shoplifting appears to be on the rise in Waterloo region, according to Waterloo regional police and staff at a local grocery store, and inflation could be partly to blame.

Staff at the Upper Village Market in Kitchener said by the time they catch shoplifters on their security cameras, it’s often too late.

“What can I do? I try to stop them and it doesn't work out. I run behind him, it doesn't work out,” admitted Rakesh Patel, the store’s director.

Patel said it may have something to do with product prices rising due to inflation, leaving some customers frustrated.

“People don't have that much money in their pocket, especially kids,” Patel said.

In 2022 he lost a few thousand dollars’ worth of merchandise because of shoplifting, and one incident sticks out in his mind.

“Last year we had a bad experience. We sell fireworks here. One kid ran… [with a] $300 box,” Patel said. “So that kind of stuff I'm seeing for the first time in seven years.”

The security cameras at Upper Village Market. (CTV News/Spencer Turcotte)

Waterloo regional police provided CTV News with data from the last few years. The data shows shoplifting cases have climbed every year since 2020. In 2020 there were 2,177 cases of shoplifting thefts under $5,000. In 2021, cases went up by just over a hundred. In 2022 the number of cases jumped by more than a thousand compared to the year before.

Patel said the numbers reported to police in Waterloo region may be even higher because he said it is not always worth the hassle of reporting minor thefts.

He admits he doesn’t call the cops and admitted the same goes for trying to get the money back through insurance.

“The problem is when you call insurance companies they say 'oh you put [in] a claim, we'll increase your premium by 20 per cent,'” Patel said. “So it’s a double dipping in loss.”

So while the price for just about everything has gone up – it’s clear some aren’t paying at all. Which means retailers are the ones on the hook. Top Stories

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