Meat, cheese, liquor and cosmetic are among the items most frequently stolen from Canadian retail stores.
Perhaps representative is the recent spike in meat thefts in Winnipeg, where various stores have hired security guards to thwart meat thefts throughout the fall. RCMP officers in British Columbia were also busy, with officers arresting 32 suspects in June in a Richmond shopping area. Meat along with liquor were the top items stolen.
Speaking to media last month, John Graham, director of government relations with the Retail Council of Canada also identified cheese, baby formula, and various cosmetic items including shavers and razor blades as top stolen items. Reasons behind the apparent popularity of these items include their portability and practicality. Meat and baby formula also fetch relatively high prices.
Social advocates have also identified a rise in meat thefts as evidence of growing social inequality in face of stagnating wages and rising costs. By way of context, one kilogram of ground beef cost $11.69 with high-end meat such as prime rib roast fetching $34.08 per kilogram, according to Statistics Canada in November. The minimum hourly wage rate in British Columbia was $13.85 per hour as of June 1.
According to Statistics Canada, rates of shoplifting of $5,000 or under rose 14 per cent in 2018 and the Retail Council of Canada estimated earlier this year that shoplifting costs retailers some $5 billion annually.