ShopWatch - Reducing Crime In Towns & Cities

Shopping centres across the country are becoming hubs for crime, with over 634 crimes reported near Whitefriars Shopping Centre in Canterbury between November 2018 and July 2019 – of which 405 were shoplifting offences.

This is costing shops thousands every year!

But what if you could reduce the crime in your local area by standing as a collective, instead of being alone?

Introducing Shopwatch, the innovative scheme aimed to reduce crime in shopping centres and high streets.

What is Shopwatch?

Shopwatch is a scheme set up in local areas where businesses, CCTV operators and police forces work together to reduce crime.

Since ShopWatch began, there has been multiple reports of reduction in crime within cities & towns. This is having a positive impact on local businesses by decreasing losses of stock as well as creating a safer environment for customers and staff.

How Does It Work?

Each member of Shopwatch work together to stop crimes before they happen or as they happen with the use of two-way radios. For example..

  1. If a prolific shoplifter is seen in town by a member of staff, they can inform other shopkeepers that the person is in the area and to keep an eye out.

2. If a member of the public steals from a shop, that shop can let other local shopkeepers know instantly. CCTV operators can then follow the suspect and assist the police in tracking them down.

3. A CCTV operator may spot a thief and inform security or store staff.

The police, staff and CCTV operators work together to bring justice to petty thieves and to eradicate shoplifting altogether.

What Are The Benefits Of ShopWatch?

Shopwatch’s primary aims are to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour. With instances of anti-social behaviour steadily increasing over the past 5 years, shopkeepers need to be on guard now more than ever to ensure their stock and staff are safe.

In Keswick, just three Shopwatch related arrests led to £3,800 worth of goods being recovered. Fantastic result from collaboration between businesses & police forces.

“Ross Feeney, CEO of Successful Sutton said: “Retailers are already making good use of the Radio Scheme to quickly contact each other and share information. ShopWatch aims to build success by further strengthening the partnership between local businesses and the Police. We hope this will go some way to ensuring that Sutton remains one of the top three safest boroughs in London.” ” Source: Successful Sutton

Is this just for shops on the high street, or can other businesses get involved too?

It depends on your local scheme. Our attitude is the more the merrier! We have worked with many local towns and cities to implement ShopWatch as well as larger shopping centres. The more businesses that are in the network means more intel that the users will have.

There is also new initiative called Pubwatch to help reduce alcohol and drug-related crimes which is seeing significant take up.

What Do I Need To Get Involved?

Many police forces, Business Improvement Districts, Business Crime Reduction Partnerships or local council will be able to help you get involved. If there isn’t one in place, now is the perfect time to start. Let’s work together to reduce crime.