Kellen Taniguchi

Published:August 10, 2021

-Edmonton Journal


The majority of Edmonton liquor stores don’t want ID scanners at the entrance of their stores, the president of the Alberta Liquor Store Association (ALSA) told urban committee councillors Tuesday.

The Edmonton Police Service recommended in December that ID scanners be installed in more liquor stores after a pilot project in three local Alcanna-owned stores saw a 93 per cent drop in theft.

ALSA president Ivonne Martinez says that a lot of other stores tell her theft is not an issue for them at the moment.

“We completely understand where they’re (EPS) coming from,” said Martinez. “They’re getting a lot of calls of these street level gangs that are going into stores … these people go in groups and they steal liquor and leave but I have to tell you the majority of those incidents are targeted to this one specific chain, the one that is doing the pilot project.”

City council is not currently looking to make these scanners mandatory but Martinez said she wants to make sure all the stores in the industry are heard and that’s why she spoke at the urban planning committee meeting.

Martinez said local stores don’t believe ID scanners are the “silver bullet” that will end crime in liquor stores and if they were to become mandatory, the money they invested in other measures would go to waste. She adds that she believes stores would have to pay out of their own pockets to install the devices and it might not be possible for some smaller shops.

“Given the pandemic and everything that is going on, not all liquor stores have done extremely well, especially the mom and pop shops that operate their own stores,” she said. “Even an investment as low as $3,000, $5,000 or $10,000 would be a big hit for them and especially when they feel they don’t need these.”

Martinez said thieves could get around these devices by entering the store behind someone else, or by someone holding the door open for the person behind them.

Although she is against mandatory scanners, Martinez said she understands the police point of view because they are getting a lot of calls about theft at select liquor stores.