Figures have shown that during the months of November and December, the shoplifting rates in Sunderland and Newcastle spike drastically.
The statistics which come from the police.uk website, where people are also able to type in their area and see the amount of crimes that happen there, list the type of crimes committed, when they were committed and if they are currently active cases.
We had a look at the SR1 and NE1, postcodes, which are considered to be the main shopping city zones in Sunderland and Newcastle.
In Sunderland, there were 196 shoplifting incidents in November and December 2011 – 127 in 2012, 165 in 2013 and 149 in 2014.
In Newcastle, there were 307 incidents in 2011, 270 in 2012 276 in 2013 and 312 in 2014.
The number of incidents in 2011 is quite high, then it drops slightly in 2012 and 2013, and then it rises again slightly in 2014.
Robert Storey, owner of the Christmas Shop, in High Street, Sunderland, said: “We haven’t really dealt with any shoplifting at the moment. I don’t know whether we just haven’t seen any, or if they’re pretty clever but we haven’t seen any yet.
“It’s hard to tell what precautions we’d take at the minute, because now that everyone has started to charge for bags, people are not buying bags and they’re walking out with stuff in their hands, so you can’t tell whether people have bought items or if they haven’t. You don’t really want to stop people because you don’t know if they purchased it our not.
“You’re always going to get shoplifters if you own a store, it’s just down to whether you see it or you don’t. There are usually at least two of us working at all times. One would stay at the register and the other would wonder around making sure everything is okay.
“We have had shoplifters in the past, but sometimes they’re out of the shop and gone before you can catch them, and to leave the till with the money in and run after them is not a good idea.”
Many of the shop owners we spoke to told of how the police have warned them in the past of a scheme that shoplifters had set up to distract workers and steal money from the till.
They are said to pick up items around a busy store with long queues in an attempt to walk out and be seen. The shop workers would then drop what they are doing at the till to catch the perpetrator in which a second thief would then steal the money that is in the till.
Fraser, owner of Bare Bottom in Jacky Whites in The Bridges, who did not want to give out his full name, said: “I’m currently just installing my CCTV. We just moved here to Jacky Whites from Durham market where we’ve been for five years now.
“We have dealt with three or four incidents in the past at our other stalls and the police have been helpful.”
Olivia Brown, the owner of Candyland sweets in Jacky Whites market in The Bridges Sunderland, added: “We haven’t really seen any shoplifting so far this season, but if we do, we’re protected in here anyway.
“Sweet wise, if they take it, they take it I say. I would never confront anybody.
“This season calls for things to be pinched because everyone is worried about getting things for other people for the holiday.
“We do have cameras in here, which is another reason why I think we don’t deal with it as much, because the shoplifters realise that if they do take things they will be caught.
“We also have walkie talkies behind the counters and we all work together in Jacky Whites to make sure that nothing goes unnoticed.”
Northumbria Police as well as the Bridges Shopping Centre failed to comment on this matter.