Shop theft has risen for the first time in five years, according to a survey from the British Retail Consortium. The seventh Retail Crime Survey found the cost of retail crime has also risen for the second year running ­ up by £230m to £1.61bn in 1991. "While disappointing, this reflects national crime trends and emphasises the need for retailers to continue to invest in crime prevention measures," said the BRC. However, burglary reduction "continues to be a success story with break-in trends down to their lowest ever level and robbery offences also reversing the national upward trend". Cases of physical violence against staff, while continuing to be a major concern, have not risen on last year. The rise in instances and cost of retail crime has come despite the fact retailers invested more than ever on crime prevention measures ­ £612m in 1999 compared with £550m the year before. To help reduce the level of youth crime ­ which at the moment accounts for 19% of customer thefts ­ retailers have joined with Crime Concern to establish a national youth programme to encourage more responsible behaviour among nine to 11 year olds ­ the key age group. And on May 25 the BRC is launching a Safer Shopping Award to give a well deserved boost to crime reduction partnerships around the country. Mike Schuck, the BRC's assistant director, said: "While it is disappointing to record some setbacks this year, retailers are still reducing crime in teal terms." {{NEWS }}