- Shoplifting continues to be a major crisis in America’s two largest cities, as thefts increased 64 percent in New York City and 61 percent in Los Angeles
- Retail thefts have gone down slightly in New York through the first half of 2023, the rate remains high with over 90,000 incidents through November 5
- Los Angeles, on the other hand, remains a mess, with a shocking 109 percent increase in retail theft through the first six months of this year
Shoplifting continues to be a major crisis in America’s two largest cities, as thefts increased 64 percent in New York City and 61 percent in Los Angeles over the last four years.
The Council on Criminal Justice said that, while shoplifts have gone down slightly in New York through the first half of 2023, the rate remains high with over 90,000 incidents through November 5 according to the city’s crime stats.
Los Angeles, on the other hand, remains a mess, with a shocking 109 percent increase in retail theft through the first six months of this year, the highest rise in the country.
Dallas has had the second highest increase in the first half of 2023, with shoplifting up 73 percent.
Six other major American cities have also seen shoplifting increases since 2019: Virginia Beach, Dallas, Raleigh, Boston and Pittsburgh.
In May, New York City Mayor Eric Adams vowed to crack down on retail thefts in the Big Apple, as a crime wave continues to plague businesses in the Dem-run city.
‘Shoplifting, especially ‘smash and grab’ episodes caught on video, has received extensive attention from the media and policymakers, and retailers have cited theft concerns in closing stores and placing goods in locked cases,’ Ernesto Lopez, a CCJ Research Specialist who co-authored the report.
The Council for Criminal Justice gave multiple possible explanations, including an increase in bail reform laws and a higher rate at which stores report retail theft.
However, they say the numbers in New York – home to a highly publicized bail reform law – do not match up with when the law was passed.
‘Far better data from law enforcement and the retail industry data is needed to help strengthen our grasp of shoplifting trends,’ Lopez added.
‘For now, it’s unclear if the increase is a result of increased shoplifting, increased reporting from businesses to police, or a combination of both.’
Retail thefts remain a huge problem across major cities, with many big box chains responding by closing stores.
In September, Target announced that it is set on closing locations in New York City, Seattle, San Francisco and Portland, because ‘theft and organized retail crime are threatening the safety of our team and guests.’
On October 21, two locations in Seattle, three stores in the San Francisco-Oakland neighborhood, three stores in Portland and one store in Harlem, New York will close for good.
‘We cannot continue operating these stores because theft and organized retail crime are threatening the safety of our team and guests, and contributing to unsustainable business performance,’ Target said in the news release.
‘We know that our stores serve an important role in their communities, but we can only be successful if the working and shopping environment is safe for all.’
Adams has publicly pledged to bring New York’s retail theft epidemic to an end.
With the exception of 2020, the total number of citywide shoplifting complaints has increased year over year since 2018, with the largest increase, 44 percent, taking place from 2021 to 2022, according to the mayor’s office.
Citing the dramatic rise in the crime that is costing businesses millions of dollars, Adams held a press conference to announce his crackdown.
‘Last year alone, 327 repeat offenders were responsible for 30 percent of the more than 22,000 retail thefts across our city,’ Adams said.
‘This hurt our businesses, our workers, our customers, and our city.’
Adams said the new plan involves a streamlined way for businesses to report shoplifting to the NYPD, establishes a neighborhood retail watch program, and creates specialized task force to respond to shoplifting incidents.
The research contains insights from 177 brands which accounted for $1.6 trillion annual sales in the US in 2022.
It found that shrink – the total losses incurred by retailers – rose by $20 billion in a year to an eye-watering $112.2 billion in 2022.
And with up to 70 per cent of those losses accounted for by theft, it means firms shoplifters stole approximately $78.4 billion.
San Francisco came in second place and was followed by Houston, TX, New York City, NY, Seattle, WA, and Atlanta, GA.
Sacramento, CA, and Chicago, IL came in joint seventh place. The top ten was rounded out by Denver, CO, Miami, FL, and Albuquerque, NM, which were all tied. The study did not specify how many incidents of crime each city had seen.
Retailers have always been vulnerable to shopliftings but there has recently been an emergence of coordinated and organized robberies at stores.
The NRF report confirms that the trend is largely being driven by major metro areas. The top five locations are also Democrat-led areas.
It has led to a drastic pushback from stores, with the likes of Target and CVS locking up their products to deter shoplifters.