Safe Retail

The following trends in retail crime have been witnessed by Brisbane retailers of the past few weeks, as relayed across the National Retail Association’s SafeCity Network.

Retailers in Brisbane should be aware of an alarming trend of youths shoplifting Rexona aerosol cans for chroming purposes (the act of inhaling household chemicals and other volatile substances to get high). Some retail staff were unaware of what chroming was but recalled that they have had Rexona cans stolen in the past. Retailers report that shoplifting of Rexona is more common at night and is usually done by youths. 


  • A convenience store retailer reported youths stealing all of their cans of Rexona on the shelf and running out. The retailer stopped stocking this product but after receiving multiple requests for Rexona aerosols from other customers, they have restocked the product but are wary of this happening again.
  • Retailers have seen youths slipping cans up their jumper sleeves and walking out.
  • A discount store used to sell Rexona cans and other aerosols but had to stop due to constant shoplifting.

Assaults and harassment 

  • A young female convenience store staff member was recently assaulted while trying to stop a man stealing cigarettes. The man managed to run out of the store but was shortly stopped by nearby construction workers and cafe staff. Police responded quickly and the man was recently charged. The staff member felt that if this had happened at night and not in the morning, there may have been less witnesses, less passerbys to help her and the police may have taken longer to respond.
  • A young female discount store staff member that works alone often feels scared at work dealing with drug- or alcohol-affected people.
  • A volunteer op shop staff member is disappointed to be constantly facing aggression and shoplifting but says she understands that times are tough and tensions are high due to COVID-19.

Police response 

Many retailers are frustrated that police are unable to respond quick enough due to administrative processes or other priorities, especially when they are extremely close to police stations.

  • One retailer, across the road from a police station, contacted the police to report a man that had brazenly stolen a drink and exited the premises. The staff member rushed to call the police saying the man was walking past the station with the drink but the police told him to stop, provide his personal details and submit a full report before they could look into it. By the time he had finished, the man was long gone.
  • Another retailer, around the corner from a police station, called the police four times to report a customer assaulting another customer in her store but by the time they came, both had left.


The National Retail Association urges retailers to report all instances of crime to Policelink so that law enforcement can get a more accurate reflection of the scope of the issue and deploy relevant resources in the future. To find the relevant state or territory online crime reporting platform, please click here.


About the SafeCity Network

The National Retail Association’s SafeCity Network brings together retailers, government and law enforcement to better inform and equip retailers to reduce retail crime.

On 1 March 2018, the NRA launched the SafeCity Network as a trial in Brisbane aimed at increasing collaboration and insight between retailers to reduce retail crime. By reducing crime over the long term, the program aims to attract more shoppers and visitors, and ultimately create a more vibrant, safer retail precincts.

Participants in the SafeCity Network gain access to regular crime alerts and bulletins based on real-world intelligence shared by other retailers.