“.. Shoplifting has spiked in Christchurch – with many of the offenders single mothers stealing the “necessities of life”.
Canterbury district commander Superintendent Gary Knowles said he had heard of recent cases in which women had stolen milk formula to feed their babies – or taken food for themselves.
Although burglaries and car thefts had dropped, there had been “a huge spike” in thefts over the past month, particularly from shops and malls.
“It’s becoming the crime of choice,” Knowles said.
Although he could not provide specific figures, it was “spiking up enough that we’re going to put serious time into it to resolve it”.
Shoplifters caught in the past month tended to be women aged between 18 and 25 – with a high percentage stealing “necessities of life” – he said.
There were three types of thieves – those who stole as a profession, those who stole luxury items they could not afford -
- and those who stole to survive.
While it “doesn’t make it right”, he had been “saddened” by the stories of some of those caught.
“If it is people stealing to survive -
- we should be partnering with a government department to see why they don’t have food,” he said…”
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