Vancouver – Vancouver Police have made another 258 arrests and recovered almost $57,000 in merchandise during the department’s continued crackdown on violent and chronic shoplifters.
“Healthy businesses are economic drivers that draw people to our city and keep our retail centres safe. When merchants struggle and their employees feel threatened because of crime, it means we need to act decisively,” says Staff Sergeant Mario Mastropieri, of VPD’s Operations Division.
“Despite the work we’ve done, business owners still have concerns for their staff and customers, and we’ll continue to proactively target chronic shoplifters and violent thieves until everyone feels safe again.”
The recent arrests, made during a two-week operation between September 11 and 26, were the latest phase of Project Barcode. The project was first launched by VPD last spring, when police partnered with retailers to arrest 355 offenders throughout the city.
“Businesses are not sitting idly by. Employers are spending millions of dollars on security measures, but not all businesses can afford to take these steps,” says Tony Hunt, General Manager for London Drugs Loss Prevention. “We rely on our police, courts, and our social support systems to make it safe to work in our communities.”
Retail theft and violent shoplifting is not unique to Vancouver, and during the latest phase of Project Barcode, VPD coordinated with agencies from across Metro Vancouver to target thieves who move from city to city as they commit crime. In addition to the 258 Vancouver arrests, 82 additional shoplifting arrests were made by Delta Police and RCMP in Langley, Richmond, and Burnaby.
“We’ve seen the impact rampant theft and violent shoplifting has had in other North American cities, where some major retailers have decided to no longer do business. We’re determined to not let that happen here,” adds Staff Sergeant Mastropieri, adding that VPD will continue targeting retail thieves throughout the holiday season.
“By working with policing partners like Metro Vancouver Transit Police, Port Moody Police, Delta Police, and RCMP from Burnaby, Langley, Richmond, and Coquitlam, we’re doing our part to help businesses succeed so they can be the foundation for safe and healthy communities.”
Additional quotes for media:
“These types of crimes affect all communities, impacting people and businesses right across the Lower Mainland. Project Barcode is a great example of agencies working together and taking a coordinated approach to make our communities safer.” – Corporal Laura Hirst, Burnaby RCMP
“Transit Police works closely with our jurisdictional police partners, ensuring the safety of Transit passengers, while also working on projects to target those criminals who use public transit to commit crime. The number of arrests are a strong reflection that teamwork made this joint effort a huge success.” – Constable Amanda Steed, Metro Vancouver Transit Police
“Over four days in September 2023, the Delta Police Department ran Project D-Barcode, with the goal of protecting our local business community from the impacts of shoplifting. The initiative resulted in 14 charges (including theft) being recommended against individuals. Shoplifting is not a victimless crime, and through initiatives like Project D-Barcode, we are sending a clear message that we stand firmly with our local business community.” – Staff Sergeant Trent McKie, Delta Police
“With each year, these collaborative retail theft operations, have proven increasingly successful and very insightful. This year, 18 arrests were made in Richmond with the most commonly recovered items being clothing, footwear, cosmetics, electronics, and personal hygiene products. Retail theft is not a victimless crime, and costs businesses across Canada millions of dollars in property losses and revenue.” – Inspector Michael Cohee, Richmond RCMP