Taking its toll: the regressive impact of property crime in Britain

Crime Crime prevention Police Community policing Theft Cities and towns Criminal justice Great Britain England London

Two thirds of all crime in England and Wales is property crime, yet victims have little faith in the ability of the criminal justice system to address it. Only one in every ten shoplifting incidents is reported to police, and half of burglary victims never hear back from police after reporting a crime.

Large swathes of property crime go unreported and unrecorded. Moreover, even where crime is reported to police, few expect the report to end in an offender being caught and prosecuted. The failure of the criminal justice system has led to a de facto decriminalisation of property crime that has a regressive effect on some of our most vulnerable communities. It may also be contributing to the emergence of organised crime groups’ involvement in shoplifting and theft, because it now offers similar returns and carries much lower risk than dealing drugs.

This report offers a suite of recommendations aimed at revitalising the way governments, police, the judicial system and the private sector combat property crimes. These include suggestions around local policing and crime prevention, criminal sentencing and supporting those at heightened risk of victimisation such as renters and students.

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