Police report sharp increase in shoplifting

Marcin Bednarski/PAP

Polish shops are suffering from a wave of shoplifting with reported cases increasing by over 31 percent in 2022, according to police, the Rzeczpospolita newspaper reported on Friday.

Citing data from the national police headquarters, the paper wrote that "in 2022 the number of thefts from shops rose by as much as 31.1 percent in annual terms, to over 32,700.

"Analysing the data from provincial police headquarters, only the one in Lublin did not record a rise in such crimes. The number of offences related to shoplifting rose by 21.5 percent to 234,300," the daily reported, adding that smaller shops that had fallen victim to the increase to a greater extent. Police data show that the number of shoplifting offences in large shops rose in 2022 by 20.8 percent to 188,300 while in small shops the rise was 24.6 percent to over 46,000.

"The rise in theft is a clear sign of problems on the market; rising prices are causing more people to decide on (shoplifting)," the paper quoted Renata Juszkiewicz, president of the Polish Trade and Distribution Organisation, as saying. "For shops it is of course a huge challenge in addition to the rise in operating costs."

Rzeczpospolita pointed out that "a new phenomenon that can now be seen is the theft of products that earlier did not disappear en masse." This concerns, "especially staple grocery products," the paper wrote, adding that people were forced into committing such theft.

Rzeczpospolita said that by contrast, the theft of luxury items such as perfume, expensive liquor or small electronic goods was mostly committed by organised crime groups.