Winnipeg retail stores are seeing a 44 percent increase in shoplifting compared to this time last year.
New data released by Winnipeg police also shows thefts are shifting from liquor stores to consumer retailers.
Police said on Monday since launching its Retail Theft Initiative in November, 151 arrests have been made.
From January to August, there have been 3,745 incidents of shoplifting under $5,000.
Insp. Jennifer McKinnon of the Major Crimes Division says the increase isn’t unique to Winnipeg.
“Cities across Canada and our neighbours south of the border are all experiencing this rising trend in shoplifting incidents,” McKinnon said.
Police admitted that the issues surrounding retail theft are complex and said they’re working with community partners and social agencies to ensure supports are provided to people facing food insecurity, poverty, or addictions challenges.
The Retail Theft Initiative is a partnership with the Retail Council of Canada and Winnipeg’s business community.
Watch Monday’s news conference: