A group of more than 30 British Columbia retailers, trade associations and other organizations is calling for a co-ordinated government response for repeat offenders they say are behind a wave of theft, vandalism and violent crime.
The Save Our Streets coalition says the need for immediate action is "critical" to meet threats to staff safety, rising security costs and the community impact.
The group says federal and provincial governments can't succeed by addressing "singular aspects" of the problem, such as drug decriminalization, policing resources or mental-health reform.
Members of the group include retailers London Drugs, Lululemon and Save-On Foods, as well as the Surrey Board of Trade and Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers.
Karen Kuwica with the Nanaimo Area Public Safety Association says the problems cover the entire province.
The group says retailers are facing growing losses from theft, and that added to increased security is costing an average family in B.C. an extra $500 a year.
Vancouver police announced last week that a crackdown on violent and chronic shoplifters had ended in 258 arrests and the recovery of almost $57,000 in stolen goods.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 30, 2023.
The Canadian Press