Retail theft in New York City has been on the rise since 2018, with a staggering 44% increase in shoplifting complaints from 2021 to 2022. This surge in retail crime has significantly impacted retailers, particularly small businesses, who are still recovering from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to this growing issue, Mayor Eric Adams has announced a comprehensive plan to combat retail theft across the city’s five boroughs.
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The Retail Theft Report, created through a collaborative effort between retailers, law enforcement, and other stakeholders, outlines a combination of upstream, program-oriented solutions and enhanced enforcement efforts. The plan also includes information on existing efforts by various New York City agencies to address retail theft.
New York State Senator Roxanne J. Persaud emphasized the need for a targeted solution that employs technology, law enforcement, and other prevention resources to combat shoplifting. The mayor’s summit and engaged stakeholders show great promise in addressing retail theft across the city.
New York City Councilmember Sandra Ung highlighted the detrimental impact of retail theft on small businesses, which form the backbone of the economy. She attended the mayor’s retail theft summit and expressed optimism about the city moving forward with the ideas shared during the event.
New York State Assemblymember Manny De Los Santos stressed the importance of taking concrete steps to address the epidemic of individual and organized retail thefts, as retail workers provide essential services to communities. He commended Mayor Adams for releasing the Retail Theft Report, which serves as a roadmap to curtail the problem and keep retail workers safe.
The comprehensive plan aims to protect retailers and bolster economic recovery while supporting vulnerable individuals in the city. However, some officials, like New York City Councilmember Robert F. Holden, argue that state legislators must roll back pro-criminal laws that tie the hands of judges to see a significant decrease in career criminals on the streets.
Mayor Adams’ plan to combat retail theft has received widespread support from various stakeholders, including the Retail Council of New York State and the New York City Organized Retail Theft Task Force. The plan is expected to strengthen partnerships between stakeholders and hold organized retail crime syndicates and repeat offenders accountable.
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