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NY retailers lost $4.4 billion due to rampant shoplifting in 2022: ‘People are losing their jobs’
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NY retailers lost $4.4 billion due to rampant shoplifting in 2022: ‘People are losing their jobs’

New York retailers reported losing $4.4 billion in 2022 as a result of shoplifting and organized theft, the New York Post reported.

Store owners across the state are urging New York Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul to take action to address the rampant theft crisis that has forced some store closures. Retailers warned that the ongoing shoplifting problem could lead to increased costs for consumers and violence against store staff.

Last week, Hochul rejected a proposed bill that would have formed a 15-member task force dedicated to combating organized retail theft. The members would have been responsible for creating a list of recommendations to prevent the ongoing criminal activity.

According to a spokesperson for Hochul, the proposal was rejected because it was not included in the state’s budget and would cost approximately $35 million. The governor suggested that a task force may be included in the upcoming budget.

Melissa O’Connor, with the Retail Council of New York State, said that the group of retailers was “extremely disappointed” with the governor’s decision. She called for repeat criminals to be held accountable and urged Hochul to take “immediate action.”

“She made it abundantly clear that retail theft prevention will be a priority for her administration, and we look forward to working with her to achieve results,” O’Connor said of Hochul.

Law enforcement agencies across the state have been reporting an increase in retail theft, pointing the blame at progressive, soft-on-crime prosecutors.

The New York Police Department previously reported that 327 people perpetrated over a third of the retail thefts in 2022. Those individuals were arrested a total of 6,000 times, according to the department.

Kent Sopris, president of the New York Association of Convenience Stores, warned that the rampant shoplifting is “statewide” and noted that business owners are reporting an increase in all types of crime. Sopris told the Post that convenience store employees are “at extreme risk.”

“My members have reported theft that leaves stores in shambles as criminals seek cigarettes, lottery tickets, and anything they can get their hands on,” he stated. “In fact one store reported a thief threw a pot of coffee at a clerk.”

Albany County District Attorney David Soares told the Times Union that organized retail theft has worsened due to lenient bail laws.

“Retail theft is reshaping communities of color and shuttering stores in spaces needing them most,” Soares said. “Pharmacies and supermarkets are closing along important commercial corridors for black and brown consumers. People are losing their jobs because of business closures due to rampant retail thefts.”

“Thieves that would have been sitting in a local jail in 2019 are now released to continue to steal and the academics want you to believe the fault is due to corporate greed and not thieves raiding shelves at your local retailer. It’s a false narrative, and It’s just irresponsible,” he added.

Earlier this month, New York City Democratic Mayor Eric Adams launched a task force to combat retail theft in the city. The task force will comprise retailers, law enforcement officials, and other community members to advise Adams on legislative proposals to curb rampant theft.

The National Retail Foundation reported national shrinkage losses of $112 billion in 2022, the Times Union reported.

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