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Shoplifting by young people fell by 76% in the run up to Christmas last year following the Safer Portsmouth Partnership's 'shoplifting can ruin your life campaign'.
In 2009, 117 young people were arrested and charged for shoplifting between October and December. During the same period in 2010, only 28 young people received a criminal record for this offence.
Shoplifting is the most common offence committed by young people and in 2009/10 it made up 43% of first time offenders.
The campaign targeted 10-17 year olds living in Portsmouth in the run up to Christmas as analysis showed that this is the most likely time young people get arrested.
Over 50 education packs were supplied to schools and youth groups in the city. The packs included a DVD and lesson plan that could be delivered in both the classroom or on a one-to-one basis.
The DVD showed the stark reality of being caught for shoplifting. Portsmouth has the most CCTV cameras in the county and businesses, the council and police work hard to prevent crime and catch criminals. The Portsmouth based drama, showed how easy it is to identify and catch individuals.
The campaign has also attracted the attention of others outside the Portsmouth area and the team has fielded enquiries from Dorset, Cornwall and Wales.
Bruce Marr, PYOP Manager said:
"We needed to be sure that this campaign has made a real difference as opposed to other factors e.g. the weather.
"So we analysed the data and found that shoplifting by adults in the same period had reduced by just over 1% and young people who were dealt with by triage* due to shoplifting had remained constant. This means that young people who committed this offence were still getting arrested when caught.
"I am also really pleased that 99 young people will not be lumbered with the consequences of having a criminal record which would make it more difficult for them to get a job or being accepted at college.
"A lot of people went out of their way to help us make this campaign work and so I would like to thank everyone who supported us in making the DVD which included CCTV Team at PCC, City of Portsmouth Boys School, Learning Links, the police, Portsmouth Business Crime Partnership and the Portsmouth Players."