Theft of food in Hungary’s supermarkets rises

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By Zoltán Siposhegyi
Rising thefts in Budapest supermarkets
Rising thefts in Budapest supermarkets   -   Copyright  Zoltán Siposhegyi

Despite the security cameras, more things were stolen in Hungary's supermarkets this year. Thefts have increased by more than 22 per cent.

Hungarian Police data shows there were around 8,400 thefts nationwide in the first 10 months of this year -mainly from large supermarkets and tobacco stores.

Electronics and expensive drinks used to be the main attraction for thieves but now it's salami and cheese.

Rising prices have meant the cost of meat has gone up by 40 per cent and dairy by 75 per cent.

Budapest was hardest hit with more produce stolen.

It is becoming more common for the perpetrator to pull a knife and start fighting with security staff
Attila Fodor
Spokesperson, CBA supermarket, Budapest

The spokesperson for Hungary's largest supermarket chain in the capital, CBA, Attila Fodor said it's not just the amount that's disappearing that's the worry, the way the thefts are carried out has changed too - they've become more aggressive.

"It is becoming more common for the perpetrator to pull a knife and start fighting with security staff," explained Fodor.

The larger chains have reacted quickly to the negative trend.

They've improved their camera systems, hired guards and put alarms on more products.

But the market stalls can't do this.

Csilla is a market trader and she said stealing food is just one of the hazards that have been around for a while.

"People have always stolen, and are still stealing and will continue to steal," she said.

Now more and more shops have started a wall of shame at their entrance to deter would-be thieves and let others be aware of certain individuals.