Date: Thursday December 7, 2023 

File: 23-25087 

Victoria, BC – Officers made 109 arrests and recovered over $29,000 in stolen merchandise during an eight-day retail theft crackdown in Victoria. 

Between November 27 and December 5, officers from VicPD’s Patrol, Outreach, and General Investigations divisions worked with retail loss prevention staff to identify and arrest violent and chronic shoplifters at various stores in Victoria.  

This operation, called Project Lifter, was created in response to ongoing concerns from local businesses about regular retail theft, increased violence when there are attempts to intervene, and the impact this has on business operations and staff safety. 

“Coordinating with VicPD on this project helps to address some of the issues our retail employees face every day,” says Tony Hunt, General Manager for London Drugs Loss Prevention. “Violence and threats are an increasing aspect of retail theft. Effectively dealing with these crimes is of interest to the public, as everyone pays for retail crime, and all of us know someone who works in retail who is impacted by retail crime. We are grateful for the police support, and we need to continue this type of collaborative enforcement involving police, government, our courts, corrections, social services, and retailers.” 

Project Lifter highlights: 

  • 109 Arrests 
  • $29,000 in recovered property 
  • Four individuals arrested multiple times during the project 
  • Of the 109 individuals arrested, 21 had outstanding warrants 
  • In total, those arrested had 1,103 previous criminal convictions, including 186 violent offences 

“The results of this project are staggering, and clearly indicate that even though there has been a decline in shoplifting reports, retail theft continues to be a huge problem in our city. VicPD is committed to continue addressing this problem, in partnership with our community, and helping people feel safer,” says VicPD Chief Del Manak. “A project like this takes considerable planning, coordination and resources, and we encourage businesses to report retail theft so we can prioritize current resources, access additional funding and continue taking action against chronic shoplifting and the violence related to retail theft.”  

The operation was funded by the Special Investigations and Targeted Enforcement (SITE) program – a three-year pilot aimed to increase police capacity to collaborate on new initiatives and supplement police resources for targeted enforcement on addressing violent, repeat offending. The funding for SITE comes from the Provincial Government’s Safer Communities Action Plan. 

Officers with VicPD’s Outreach Section are working with arrested individuals to provide information on access to housing, substance use, and other community supports in an effort to break the cyclical nature of these crimes. 


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