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Canadians divided over retailers' anti theft measures, poll finds

Store theft and break-ins continue to be top issues for Canadian businesses

Less than half of Canadians believe retail stores are implementing the right amount of security measures to prevent shoplifting but the majority say they would feel safe working in one, a new Leger poll found.

The survey on retail security indicated that a wide majority of people support retailers implementing measures to prevent theft such as installing security cameras or electronic anti-theft alarms attached to items, hiring security guards or locking certain products in display cases.

But respondents were split on whether they would support measures such as store employees checking receipts when customers exit or eliminating self-checkout machines. Support dipped to 17% for requiring customers to scan their IDs to make a purchase.

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The survey was completed online by more than 1,500 Canadians at least 18 years old between Aug. 4-6 and results were weighted according to age, gender, mother tongue, region, education and presence of children in the household.

When it comes to retailers implementing security measures to prevent shoplifting, 45% of respondents said companies are putting in place the right level.

Around 27% said they are not implementing enough measures, while 10% said stores are doing too much to prevent shoplifting.

Asked about the level of shoplifting where they live relative to the rest of Canada, just 14% of respondents said their province sees more theft than other parts of the country.

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The sentiment was felt most strongly in B.C., where one-quarter of respondents said they felt their province sees more store theft than others.

But two-thirds of Canadians would or do feel safe working in a retail store, according to the survey, compared with 18% who said they do not. Measured by gender, 70% of male respondents said they would feel safe, compared with 63% of female respondents.

Store theft and break-ins continue to be top issues for Canadian businesses, according to a separate survey conducted in May by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

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The organization found theft or shoplifting was the most common community safety issue recently experienced by its members, followed by vandalism or breaking and entering.

Three-in-four small business owners said they were concerned about their own safety or that of their staff and customers. Around 65% said they had recently spent more on security, including on cameras or guards, to address safety issues.

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