Newly released crime figures show a rise in shoplifting among the senior population. Figures from 2012/13 show a 20 per cent increase last year for accused shoplifters over the age of 60 in Victoria. Of the 674 accused, 411 were aged 60-69, 200 were aged 70-79 and 63 were aged 80 and over.
Council on the Ageing (COTA) chief executive Ian Yates believes that as our population continues to age, the number of seniors stealing can be expected to rise. Mr Yates explained that the thieves may be under financial stress, suffering from the early stages of dementia, or have a lifelong habit of stealing.
A recent crime report estimates that Victorian shoppers paid nearly $200 million in higher prices to cover an estimated $560 million a year in shoplifting losses. Clothing, mobile phone products, batteries, razor blades, alcohol and perfume are among the top items shoplifted.
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The road ahead for many Australians approaching retirement age and currently in retirement isn’t all smooth sailing. As revealed by Kaye Fallick yesterday in her article Australians underfunded for retirement, Australians are facing a 13-year retirement savings shortfall, placing us as the country with the 11th widest savings gap of the 15 surveyed. With this information at hand, it is little wonder that shoplifting among the senior population has increased.
As our population continues to age, the crime rate and number of seniors caught shoplifting is naturally expected to rise, but the 20 per cent jump this year is a dramatic increase. As surveillance technology improves and becomes more widespread over the next decade, I would expect to see a significant year-on-year increase in the number of seniors caught shoplifting.
What do you think? Are cost-of-living pressures to blame for the increased rate of shoplifting among seniors? Are you surprised by the figures?