South Australian Supermarket Implements GPS Tracking to Combat Meat Theft

A pioneering initiative is underway at a leading South Australian supermarket chain to safeguard prized cuts of meat from the grasp of thieves. Drakes Supermarkets has embarked on a trial of GPS trackers affixed to packages of premium meats at two of its stores, marking a significant step in theft prevention tactics.

Director John-Paul Drake told ABC Radio Adelaide that the trial commenced three weeks ago. It employs robust polycarbonate containers equipped with tracking technology. These innovative containers are programmed to alert store personnel upon detection of unauthorized removal from the premises without proper payment.

The trial is currently underway at Drakes’ North Haven and Eyre stores. It focuses on safeguarding high-value meat products like Wagyu steaks, which command prices ranging from $50 to $100 per kilo. Mr. Drake emphasized the significance of this initiative in combatting theft, citing an annual loss of $12 million attributed to theft from Drakes stores.

Each container comes with a price tag of $35, adding to operational costs. However, Mr. Drake likened the investment to having round-the-clock security within the store, thus underscoring its value in protecting merchandise.

This proactive measure aligns with broader industry efforts to mitigate retail theft, as highlighted by Fleur Brown, Chief Industry Affairs Officer of the Australian Retailers Association. Brown noted a surge in theft of high-value items such as meat, suggesting a link to organized crime activities and emphasizing the resale value of stolen goods.

Police Commissioner Grant Stevens echoed these concerns, attributing the rise in retail theft to various factors, including economic pressures. Emphasizing the commitment of SA Police to combat theft, Commissioner Stevens stressed the importance of collaboration between law enforcement and the retail sector to implement preventive measures and pursue offenders.

Recent statistics from SA Police reveal a concerning 30% increase in shop theft incidents over the past year, underscoring the urgency of addressing this issue. With 1,720 reported incidents in January alone and over 18,400 incidents recorded in the past year, the need for effective countermeasures is evident.

In the face of mounting challenges, initiatives like GPS-tracked meat containers represent proactive steps towards safeguarding valuable assets and deterring theft, ultimately contributing to the security and integrity of retail operations.

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