Number of reported incidents of shoplifting in Kamloops stays high in 2023

Theft numbers stay high

Shoplifting has increased in Kamloops from a few hundred files to more than a thousand annually each of the last two years, while police admit the numbers are not likely capturing the full scope of the issue.

There were approximately 1,100 shoplifting files recorded in Kamloops in 2022 and in 2023 — numbers that have skyrocketed from pandemic era counts, and are even higher than pre-pandemic numbers.

RCMP statistics show there were 1,104 shoplifting files in Kamloops in all of 2023. That's just eight files more than the 1,096 recorded in 2022.

Those numbers represent about a 43 per cent increase over the 742 shoplifting files form 2020 and 795 files from 2021.

The stats the last two years are also higher than pre-pandemic levels. RCMP statistics show police had 847 total shoplifting files for all of 2019, which was a 35 per cent increase (222 more files) than 2018 during which police tallied 625 shoplifting reports.

More shoplifting than reported?

At the most recent safety and security select committee meeting, Kamloops Coun. Katie Neustaeter said she’s heard from the business community that they will not bother to report a lot of their shoplifting incidents.

“They don’t find that the response they need is happening,” Neustaeter told RCMP Supt. Jeff Pelley. “Should they be reporting every incident, and how can we better support them through that process?”

Pelley said the RCMP believe some businesses may not be reporting shoplifting, but that is why they have proactive programs and work with loss prevention officers.

“Our crime reduction unit has been engaged in some of the business corridors and our larger businesses with multiple smaller businesses around them,” Pelley said.

He added police continue to focus in on prolific offenders who have a penchant for shoplifting.

“We are looking to gain some public trust with respect to that,” Pelley said adding that police encourage people to report shoplifting to the RCMP.

A pandemic blip in the numbers

Shoplifting, according to the RCMP’s statistics, have numbered mostly in the high 200s quarter over quarter the last two years.

Looking back over the last four years, it appears the COVID-19 pandemic may have caused a downturn in those stats, but those numbers have steadily rebounded.

Kamloops RCMP tallied 279 shoplifting reports in the first quarter of 2020.The next quarter, during the spring of 2020 — when many businesses were closed due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic — shoplifting files in Kamloops dropped to just 115. That same quarter a year later, shoplifting files were back up by 100 reports.

Over the last two quarters of 2020, shoplifting files totalled 179 and 169 before spiking to 274 in the first quarter of 2021. They dipped back down to 215 and 136 before climbing to 170 files in the fourth quarter of 2021.

They took another 100-plus file surge to 277 reports in the first quarter of 2022 and the numbers have remained in the high 200s in every quarter since, with the exception of the fourth quarter in 2022 which saw just 221 shoplifting reports.

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