Safe Retail

The following trends in retail crime have been witnessed by Brisbane retailers over the past few weeks, as relayed across the National Retail Association’s SafeCity Network.

The National Retail Association recently visited a major shopping centre in Brisbane and has found crime has been comparatively lower than in the CBD.

Shopping Centres versus CBD

Police response and security

Most retailers have experienced minimal crime and have found centre security and police to be highly responsive to any reports with a high recovery rate. CBD retailers reported police response times of up to 40 minutes or having no answer at the police beat.

  • One retailer reported a young female snatching Doc Marten boots on display and running way. The retailer reported the theft to centre security immediately and police were able to apprehend the woman with stolen goods from other stores. The female had warrants out for her arrest.
  • A sunglass retailer reported having their Versace sunglasses constantly targeted by youths. If shoplifted, centre security and police are able to return the goods 60% of the time.

COVID-19 measures

Shopping centre retailers reported very minimal customer aggression or frustration with government health directives, including social distancing measures, hand sanitising stations, purchase limits and cashless transactions. If a customer only had cash, retailers were able to direct them to centre management to purchase a gift card using their cash to use within the centre. Retailers in the city reported items with imposed product limits, such as hand sanitiser, toilet paper and cleaning products, were highly targeted. Retailers in the city also reported an increase in verbal abuse, victimisation and aggression during the pandemic, including spitting and intentional coughing on staff members.

COVID-19 recovery

For retailers that remained open throughout COVID-19, food and grocery, kitchenware and crafts retailers reported having high foot traffic whereas cosmetics, fashion and homewares retailers reported low foot traffic. However, most retailers reported that customers have returned in hordes and many retailers have almost recovered from any losses during COVID-19. In the CBD, retailers noted a substantial drop in tourism and decreased levels of office workers present meant that there were greater congregations of drug affected individuals, homeless and vagrant youths, leaving staff feeling unsafe going to and from work.


About the SafeCity Network

The National Retail Association’s SafeCity Network brings together retailers, government and law enforcement to better inform and equip retailers to reduce retail crime.

On 1 March 2018, the NRA launched the SafeCity Network as a trial in Brisbane aimed at increasing collaboration and insight between retailers to reduce retail crime. By reducing crime over the long term, the program aims to attract more shoppers and visitors, and ultimately create a more vibrant, safer retail precincts.

Participants in the SafeCity Network gain access to regular crime alerts and bulletins based on real-world intelligence shared by other retailers.