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Hawaii Ranks #4 Nationwide: Retail Theft Impact Soars, Revealing State’s Vulnerability

Retail theft or shoplifting of a bottle of wine | Getty Images

According to HPD, fewer business burglaries have occurred this year, yet a recent report has Hawaii in the top five states for shoplifting.

A recent smash-and-grab incident took place at the Downing Hawaii surf shop located on Waialae Avenue.

“They entered. They proceeded towards the register. took a little adjustment. Store owner Keone Downing, a well-known water man and community leader, stated, “They took our sunglasses cases and hats and more sunglasses.” “They were aware of their objectives.”

His Waialae surf shop is now one of several targets in Oahu.

Hawaii is currently receiving national attention after Forbes ranked the state as the fourth most affected by retail theft in the country.

“For whatever reason, people can get away with it,” the Retail Merchants of Hawaii’s Tina Yamaki said.

The Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association organized a panel discussion on the topic on Wednesday.

“Our retailers file the reports and call the police.” While prosecutors pursue cases, Yamaki noted that since the offense is not violent, judges are finding that jails are full and that they should just give offenders a slap on the wrist rather than prosecuting them.

However, the Waikiki Improvement District Association asserts that the city’s safe and sound campaign is to blame for the decrease in thefts.

According to Trevor Abarzua of the Association, “we have this thing called geographic restriction where a judge can say, Hey, you are no longer allowed in Waikiki.” “You’ll face more charges on your record if the police see you again.”

According to HPD, Oahu’s commercial burglaries are down roughly 10% from the previous year.

The Effect of Retail Theft on Small Businesses

Retailers across the country are facing challenges from organized retail crime, with some stores, like Target, announcing that they are closing their locations for safety reasons and to reduce stolen losses. According to the National Retail Federation, a larger percentage of American retailers (78.1%) thought that organized retail crime should be given more attention in 2023 than it did in 2022 (70.7%). Furthermore, according to theft statistics, 88% of shops believe that shoplifters are now at least slightly more violent and aggressive than they were a year ago.

In order to determine which states are most affected by retail theft overall, Forbes Advisor examined retail theft statistics. To learn more about how retail theft affects small businesses, we also conducted a survey among American small company owners who operate brick-and-mortar establishments with up to 50 employees.

According to Forbe’s poll, 83% of small company retailers in the country said they think retail theft is at least a relatively big issue, and 90% of small business retailers nationwide had experienced theft at their establishments.

Retail Theft in America

Dealing with the fallout from theft can make starting a small business—an already challenging endeavor—even more challenging. According to the results of our poll, most small business merchants in America deal with theft on a monthly basis (75%) and face it both internally from staff and outside from customers.

  • According to 41% of small company shops, the value of stolen goods rose in 2023 over the previous year.
  • Due to theft, 75% of small-company retailers reported monthly losses ranging from $500 to $2,500.
  • After an occurrence, the majority of business owners say they would report theft to the authorities (53%), and submit a claim with their insurance (56%).
  • Small business retailers frequently mitigate theft, with 98% of them reporting that they have put preventative measures in place.
  • According to 83% of respondents, theft is a significant problem for small business owners that own retail stores.
  • According to National Retail Federation research, American shops have experienced a rise in phone scams, including the demand for cash or gift cards, as well as e-commerce fraud, during the past year.

Frequency of Theft in Small Businesses

According to the report, theft rates in the US can result in catastrophic losses for small company merchants, and different business sizes often encounter it at varying frequencies.

  • The majority of retail small company owners—21%—were most likely to encounter client theft occasionally. Weekly (18% of respondents) was the second most common frequency of experiencing consumer theft, and daily (13% of respondents) was the third most common frequency.
  • Merely 5% of proprietors operating small businesses claimed to have never encountered theft by customers at their physical store.
  • Retail owners with one to twenty workers were most likely to encounter theft daily (17%), while those with 21 to thirty workers were more likely to experience theft sometimes (31%).

What to do to reduce theft for small businesses?

Small business owners in America frequently take preventative steps to deter theft; in fact, 98% of them report having put in place some sort of anti-theft procedure.

  • Installing security cameras (50%) and raising pricing (64%) were the two most common steps small company sellers reported taking to lower theft.
  • Additional precautions include completing background checks on new hires (43%), and adding motion sensors to items (45%).
  • Small company retailers with one to twenty workers were more likely to report theft losses each month of at least $2,501 (24%), but they were also more likely to claim that they had not taken any precautions against theft (7%).
  • Companies with between 41 and 50 employees were most likely to take a number of anti-theft measures, such as screening potential hires for criminal records, raising prices to offset losses, adding workers to keep an eye out for shoplifting, putting control systems in place (like routine inventory counts), and shortening store hours.

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