They take out bags and boxes: because of shoplifters in the USA, shops are closed, but the police cannot do anything
Target, Home Depot and other retailers announced last week that their profits were hit hard by a "double-digit" increase in theft across the country. Stores are taking retaliatory measures - mainly the closure of outlets, reports New York Post.
A strong surge in theft occurred after the increase in prices for consumers. Before there were so many episodes of shoplifting, shoppers were free to browse and read product labels. Now retailers are trying to hide goods in showcases with locks.
When the guy next to you loads a bag from the unlocked shelves of goods and leaves without paying, be aware that you are paying for these stolen items.
Theft is not punished, and retailers close outlets
Retailers are fleeing New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Portland, cities that mayors and district attorneys have turned into a shoplifter's paradise.
San Francisco is scheduled to lose Nordstrom, Saks Off 5th and Anthropologie to theft. Whole Foods has already escaped.
This means loss of jobs and sales tax revenue, empty windows and decline. What is a city without shops? There is a perception that if we allow our politicians to adopt the philosophy that shoplifting is caused by poverty and should not be criminalized, we will destroy our cities and plunge into lawlessness.
Theft is not a necessity, it's just... a business
Some politicians argue that the imprisonment of shoplifters criminalizes poverty.
NPR reporter Sandhya Dirks believes that taking essentials for free is not stealing. True, sometimes thieves are bums with mental illness or addictions. But be that as it may, organized theft is becoming an increasingly serious problem.
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Thieves enter pharmacies with calculators to make sure that the value of the items they load into their bags does not exceed what the law defines as a misdemeanor of $1000 or less in New York and most states. Most shoplifters are just playing with the law and taking items for free to resell, not because they are hungry or need baby diapers.
In New York City, nearly a third of the shoplifting that led to arrests last year was committed by the same 327 people—professional thieves who were arrested a total of 6000 times.
But they are still on the streets. “We have people who have been arrested more than 30 times this year alone,” said Michael Lipetri, head of the NYPD Crime Squad.
Attempts to change the situation
San Francisco and Los Angeles have the most retail thefts in the country. The poll shows that Californians want to tighten their state's law to make it a felony to steal goods worth more than $400.
The Democratic majority in the Legislative Assembly is fighting back—protecting the thieves, not the public.
The situation is different in Florida, which revised its law last year to allow prosecutors to summarize what a thief steals over time from multiple stores to press felony charges. Some Democrats countered that it would "only punish the poor" and instead urged lawmakers to "address systemic poverty."
This is exactly what New York state legislators are saying when they oppose the reforms.
Back in January, retailers banded together to ask Albany lawmakers to change the law to allow prosecutors to file criminal charges against serial shoplifters based on their cumulative catch. So far, no results.
Mayor Eric Adams last week unveiled his long-awaited plan to tackle retail theft. Adams wants to place kiosks in high-traffic stores where he believes those in need can sign up for social services instead of stealing.
“Sorry, but this is just a pipe dream,” said Ralph Cilento, a retired NYPD lieutenant.
To be fair, Adams has nothing to work with as the Albany Democrats refuse to act.
But the stalls only legitimize the myth that poverty breeds crime. Criminals commit crimes and they should be arrested, convicted and imprisoned, as many believe.
You may be interested in: top New York news, stories of our immigrants, and helpful tips about life in the Big Apple - read it all on ForumDaily New Y.
In 2022, the number of shoplifting complaints in New York increased by 45% compared to 2021.
Last year, shops on Greenwich Street were robbed 646 times. As one Target employee said frustratedly, “At some point, there won’t even be any merchandise to sell.”
Stop spoiling shoplifters and start protecting the rest - such a course of action should be acceptable in society.
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