THERE’S nowhere to hide – that’s the message to shoplifters as a campaign is launched to combat rising thefts in Bournemouth, with more than 400 people already on the black list.
Bournemouth Businesses Reducing Crime (BBRC) is behind the new scheme, which will see life-size cut-outs of a police officer placed in shops in a bid to make would-be thieves think twice.
Alongside that, shops from Holdenhurst Road up to Westbourne are in radio contact to pass on information about anyone looking suspicious.
It comes as the latest figures show that shoplifting in the town is already up 14 per cent on last year.
Kevin Strudwick, who is business crime operations manager for BBRC, said: “The idea is it’s thought-provoking for people who go into a shop with the intention of stealing, their thought process is disrupted.
“Nationally, shoplifting is a huge problem and we have seen an increase of 14 per cent.
“There has been a lot of unemployment and many of the problems that are associated with it through drugs and alcohol etc; they steal to fund their habit and unfortunately the retailers get the brunt of it.”
If somebody is caught through the scheme, they are automatically banned from all member retailers – more than 70 in total.
Kevin said that the average theft value was £67 and in 2013 BBRC recovered £24,243 worth of goods.
He said that, currently, 438 people were excluded from stores involved in the campaign.
Bournemouth town centre Inspector Heather Dixey said: “It will work. In other areas that have used it they have seen a vast reduction.
“It’s come to the season, in the summer crime tends to go up with the influx of visitors to the area.
“We need to let people know that these schemes exist and everybody is talking to each other.
“It’s good for us to have the extra visibility, as we can’t be in all places at all times.”