According to an analysis of police data by the New York Post, reported shoplifting incidents reached the highest levels for the second consecutive year in 2022. The number of complaints related to shoplifting increased to over 63,000 last year, marking a 45 percent upsurge compared to approximately 45,000 incidents in 2021 and a staggering jump of nearly 275 percent compared to the mid-2000s. The situation has become a significant concern for retailers as the frequency of theft continues to rise uncontrollably, leading to frustration and a sense of helplessness among store employees because they “can’t stop them.”
Shoplifting reports have steadily risen since 2006, but the problem has escalated recently. Although there was a brief drop in theft figures in 2019, just before the pandemic, the numbers returned to their upward trend after the pandemic. In 2021, there were a record-breaking 43,675 reports of shoplifting, thefts and robberies, according to the NYPD data. These figures surged even higher last year, with 63,699 complaints.
Certain areas of the city have been particularly hard-hit by shoplifting incidents. For instance, in the NYPD’s 1st Precinct, shoplifting incidents nearly doubled from 2,103 to 4,061 in 2022. Similarly, in the East Village’s 9th Precinct, retail thefts increased by over 150 percent from 579 to 1,467. The numbers have left law enforcement officials like Chris Hermann disturbed, acknowledging that “there’s no quick fix to something like this.”
Frustrated and vulnerable storeowners have resorted to seeking help through meetings with Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, hoping for effective measures to combat this crisis. The anxiety of being susceptible to theft becomes a daily reality for these business owners, who realize that stores have become easy targets for those with ill intentions.
Major retailers such as Target and Duane Reade have been severely affected, experiencing hundreds or even thousands of incidents at their locations. Unfortunately, store personnel often find themselves powerless, forced to allow shoplifters to escape due to fear of repercussions or the absence of timely police intervention. (Related: Big-box stores closing down due to rising RETAIL THEFT.)
Even Democratic Mayor Eric Adams could not fulfill his promise of assistance to business owners. Back in December, he organized a citywide summit to address the issue of retail theft, involving district attorneys, the state Attorney General, top NYPD officials and business groups to find long-lasting solutions. But Adams abruptly left after 20 minutes, leaving participants to work toward resolutions independently.
New Yorkers mock odd and completely useless anti-shoplifting plans
After several months of organizing the unsuccessful citywide summit, Adams and his office issued a lackluster plan on May 20 to address the rampant shoplifting incidents in NYC. But his odd and completely useless anti-shoplifting plans cost a lot of money and don’t even come close at resolving the problem.
Twitter users have expressed their dismay toward Adams and his recent response to the city’s increasing shoplifting problem. The “Crackdown On Shoplifting Plan For NYC” includes several action steps that appear lenient on consequences and neglectful in nature.
The proposed measures involve offering intervention programs instead of prosecution for first-time offenders, providing de-escalation training for retail employees, establishing neighborhood retail watch groups to share theft information, and installing store kiosks to connect potential thieves with social services programs.
However, shoplifters in NYC are not desperate individuals stealing basic necessities to survive. Instead, they are well-coordinated gangs that steal valuable merchandise for profit. Even if they consume what they steal, it is more for indulgence rather than out of dire need. In other words, all of this is organized crime in action.
Thus, implementing small police kiosks offering social services or intervention programs will not bring about significant changes. These initiatives may be overshadowed by the prevalence of social service advertisements in the crime-ridden NYC subway.
The action points of the plan were heavily criticized by advocates against crime, and many Twitter users dismissed it outright. Conservative libertarian thinker Tom Woods labeled the plan released by Adams as “a parody of what a mayor in a blue city would propose.”
Some users questioned the seriousness of the people behind the plan, expressing concerns that NYC might follow the path of San Francisco if this approach is implemented. One user labeled the program “stupid,” claiming it would “definitely encourage more shoplifting.”
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