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Shoplifting And Fraud Surge Linked To Recession

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Shoplifting and fraud surge linked to recession

Shoplifting, fraud and forgery rose sharply last year against a backdrop of stable or falling offences, an official report claimed on Thursday, in an early sign of likely crime trends during the recession.

Alan Johnson, home secretary, promised tougher policing to curb the threat of a rise in “acquisitive crime†linked to wider economic problems.

The downturn is seen as a probable trigger of rising theft and fraud, as more people fall into poverty and business people are tempted to commit offences to keep their companies afloat.

Professor Michael Levi, a financial crime specialist at the Cardiff School of Social Sciences, said the latest figures might be an early indicator of how companies were starting to uncover frauds as they took a closer look at their books because of the recession.

He said: “It’s ... likely to reflect a rise in reporting or awareness of fraud – a shake-out of stuff in the recession, bringing up frauds that have been going on for some time.â€

The number of fraud and forgery offences climbed 5 per cent annually in the year to last month, the Home Office’s annual crime survey said, while shoplifting surged 10 per cent.

The figures contrasted with trends in overall crime, which fell 5 per cent according to police records and was stable according to the British Crime Survey which is based on interviews with the public.

Mr Johnson said that while the latest figures were encouraging, the government was investing in “tough, targeted policing†to deal with the “signs of some acquisitive crimes increasingâ€.

He said: “We know that during economic downturns certain crimes face upward pressure, which is why we’ve already taken action to tackle these head-on.â€

The home office figures fall far short of presenting a uniform picture of rising financially motivated crime, with the police recording declines in robberies, burglaries and vehicle-related thefts. The British Crime Survey’s claimed 25 per cent increase in theft from the person contrasts with the 12 per cent fall recorded by the police.

Observers say the impact of the recession is likely to be more obvious in the next set of statistics, as last year’s data include a lengthy period before the worst of the downturn.

Shoplifting and fraud surge linked to recession?

No way dude!

BillTed3.jpg

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Coming soon: Carjacking and Home Invasions.

It started in America.

Already here. I posted some local links a few week ago.

Strangely Johnson hasn't mentioned the increased fraud in the banks or in parliament.

How many banksters/politicians have been arrested/charged for stealing £750bn?

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