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1,500 shoplifting incidents reported at Ottawa LCBO locations over three months

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More than 1,500 shoplifting incidents were reported at LCBO outlets in Ottawa during the final three months of 2023, as Ottawa police continue to see a rise in shoplifting incidents in the capital.

A new report for the Ottawa Police Services Board says of the 7,333 online crime reports filed in the fourth quarter of last year, shoplifting accounted for over 37 per cent of all reports.  Staff say the number of shoplifting incidents in the October-December period was 76 per cent higher than the fourth quarter of 2022.

"The increase was driven in part by LCBO," staff say in the report for Monday's board meeting.

"(LCBO) reported more than 1,500 shoplifting incidents in 2023 Q4, compared to over 720 incidents in 2022 Q4."

The report notes the LCBO had previously limited online reports to 25 per day for all their locations, but reported 1,500 shoplifting incidents in the October-December period. The 1,500 shoplifting incidents in the fourth quarter of 2023 equals an average of 16 shoplifting incidents a day at LCBO outlets across the city.

In a statement to CTV News Ottawa, the LCBO notes theft and violent incidents are "on the rise across the retail industry."

"We are continuously looking for ways to minimize the impact of criminal activity while keeping our employees and customers safe," the LCBO said. 

"The LCBO has multiple measures in place to deter theft, but we do not share details as it puts the effectiveness of our measures and the safety of our employees at risk. The LCBO will continue to take proactive, collaborative, and substantive actions with our partners to address shop theft, including working with police services."

There are 36 LCBO locations across Ottawa.

Police also reported a 50 per cent increase in shoplifting incidents in the April-June period of 2023.

Police see spike in calls in 2023

The Ottawa Police Service received over 427,000 calls for service in 2023, the highest number of calls in 10 years.

A report for the Ottawa Police Services Board says the number of calls for service was 15 per cent higher than the five-year average of 371,253, and up from the 370,315 calls for service in 2022.

In the fourth quarter of 2023, police received close to 91,000 calls for service, including 83,700 through the OPS computer-aided dispatch system.

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