Tougher penalties for repeat offenders of shoplifting would go some way to helping Launceston’s retail community deal with the constant struggle of stealing crimes. That’s according to Cityprom chief executive Vanessa Cahoon, who said shoplifting was a prominent recurring issue brought up among its retail members. Ms Cahoon and Launceston Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s executive officer Jan Davis spoke out about the issue their members face after a crackdown on shoplifting and stealing offences was launched between Tasmania Police and Launceston retailers on Wednesday. “If businesses suffer significant losses they can’t employ people,” Ms Cahoon said. She said there had been several meetings in the past couple of weeks between Tasmania Police, retailers and Police Minister Rene Hidding about how to tackle the issue in the city that had made positive progress. However she said there was a perception among retailers that shoplifting was being done by repeat offenders who were not being deterred from the crime. “There needs to be a change to penalties; if there isn’t a deterrent a lot of the effort is wasted,” she said. Ms Cahoon said options such as paying back the cost of the items they stole, CBD bans and jail time could all be introduced as punishment for offenders. She also said one thing to come out of the meetings&nbsp;was a discussion around offenders who made a living from selling stolen goods online. Ms Davis said shoplifting was a serious issue for the chamber’s members and was in need of more “policing.” However she said that it might not be Tasmania Police’s role to provide that support to retailers. “It’s obviously a concern there with people who do the wrong thing,” she said. Ms Davis said the cost to retailers was a huge impost when they not only became a victim of shoplifting but also when they had to try to mitigate their chances of becoming a target. CCTV cameras and electronic tags for stock are all expensive items and add cost to a retailer’s bottom line. Cityprom will be holding an information session on June 28 to discuss ways retailers can help to address the issue of shoplifting. More details will be released at a later date.