Coles is introducing special gates to stop thieves in their tracks - with Amaroo chosen because the company says it's "high risk". The gates just beyond the checkout open if you've just paid but stay shut if high-tech scanners detect that you haven't paid the full price - or any price - for an item. The new technologies are called Smart Gate and Skip Scan. A spokesperson for Coles said their aim was "to ensure all items in basket are scanned". "This investment in the use of technology is in high-risk stores," the spokesperson said. At the Coles in Amaroo on Monday morning, no customers The Canberra Times spoke to were upset - none felt insulted that their neighbourhood had been chosen. Nobody felt it was all a bit Big Brother. "I've got no problem," Rhonda Parkin said as she clutched her groceries. "It keeps prices down because if they continually lose stock, prices would have to go up." She said she'd seen it all. She had noticed people pretending expensive vegetables were actually carrots. Coles said that "most of our customers do the right thing" but a small number didn't. Some Coles (and Woolworths) stores have also got trolleys which won't move if shop-lifting is detected. "This technology uses sensors to prevent trolleys leaving the store if someone hasn't first paid at a register," the Coles spokesperson said. The company wants to know what customers think. "We value feedback from our customers, and encourage them to let us know about their shopping experience through our normal feedback channel - Tell Coles - or through our dedicated customer care team." Coles clocked up a 20 per cent rise in "stock loss" in the year to June, 2023 (though this includes food and perishable goods going to waste in store). It may also be because of the rise in shopping as the pandemic waned. But the result was new security technology in about a third of its stores, according to the Reuters news agency. Partly that's to offset theft but also to protect staff. "Threatening situations arise as the cost of living pressures have exacerbated," the Coles chief executive Leah Weckert told Reuters. Supermarkets are torn between introducing self-service check-outs which lower labour costs but also make stealing easier. The Australian Retailers Association reckons that 2 to 3 per cent of total shop sales go out of the door without being paid for. Woolworths has also introduced overhead cameras to all its Australian stores under a technology supplied by the Auror company. They can detect items and how much (or how little) is paid for them. The cameras then automatically alert staff and trolleys and gates. "All Woolworths supermarket, Metro and Big W stores across the country use the Auror system as a means of reporting antisocial and unlawful incidents including theft, abuse to team members and violence," a Woolworths spokesperson said. "The system is used in partnership with police and, along with other measures, has contributed to a safer workplace environment for our team members."