Retail Theft Survey Finds Case Values Increased in 2020

Increases in both shoplifting and dishonest employee theft

Retail Theft

Jack L. Hayes International’s 33rd Annual Retail Theft Survey reports on over 184,000 shoplifters and dishonest employee apprehensions in 2020 by just 22 large retailers, who recovered over $81 million from these thieves.

Mark Doyle
Mark Doyle

“While temporary store closures due to the Covid-19 Pandemic resulted in fewer thieves being caught stealing in 2020, the average shoplifting case value increased 13.0 percent and the average dishonest employee case value increased 3.8 percent over 2019,” said Mark R. Doyle, president of Jack L. Hayes International. “As expected, the Covid-19 pandemic clearly affected apprehensions and recovery dollars in 2020, with shoplifting apprehensions and recovery dollars down 43.8 percent and 36.5 percent respectively. Dishonest employee apprehensions and recovery dollars down 20.3 percent and 17.2 percent respectively. However, those participant retailers designated as ‘essential’ saw overall apprehensions rise 7.9 percent and dollar recoveries increase 9.1 percent during 2020.”

Highlights from the Retail Theft Survey

  • Participants—22 large retail companies with 18,594 stores and over $500 billion in retail sales in 2020.
  • Apprehensions—Participants apprehended 184,621 shoplifters and dishonest employees in 2020, down 41.3 percent from 2019. “Essential” retailers’ apprehensions increased 7.9 percent.
  • Recovery Dollars—Participants recovered over $81 million from apprehended shoplifters and dishonest employees in 2020, down 30.0 percent. “Essential” retailers’ recovery dollars increased 9.1 percent.
  • Shoplifters—158,158 shoplifters were apprehended in 2020, down 43.8 percent, and over $49 million was recovered from these shoplifters, down 36.5 percent. “Essential” retailers’ shoplifting stats were up 8.6 percent (apprehensions) and 15.3 percent (recovery dollars).
  • Dishonest Employees—26,463 employees were apprehended in 2020, down 20.3 percent, and $32 million was recovered from these employees in 2020, down 17.2 percent. “Essential” retailers’ dishonest employee stats were up 2.7 percent (apprehensions) and 0.1 percent (recovery dollars).
  • Case Averages—Total retail thefts averaged $440.48, up 19.2 percent in 2020. Shoplifting cases averaged $310.11, up 13.0 percent. Dishonest employee cases averaged $1,219.61, up 3.8 percent.

To read more results from the Jack Hayes Retail Theft survey and to download a PDF of the results, visit the Hayes International website.

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