The Democrats’ soft-on-crime policies and their war on police have taken a huge toll on retailers. And huge is an understatement.
We’ve all seen the stories of retailers struggling with shoplifters who know they won’t face any consequences for their crimes. The problem has gotten so bad that retailers are leaving blue cities because it’s too costly to operate there anymore. Just how bad have things gotten?
According to a survey from the National Retail Federation (NRF) and the Loss Prevention Research Council, retailers lost more than $112 billion to crime in 2022, an increase of nearly 20% over the previous year.
The survey found that 28% of businesses closed locations due to organized retail theft, and a substantial 30% adjusted their in-store product selections to combat theft. Additionally, a majority, 88%, of the 177 retail brands surveyed reported an increase in violence among shoplifters in 2022 compared to the previous year.
“Retailers are seeing unprecedented levels of theft coupled with rampant crime in their stores, and the situation is only becoming more dire,” David Johnston, the NRF vice president for Asset Protection and Retail Operations, said in a statement. “Far beyond the financial impact of these crimes, the violence and concerns over safety continue to be the priority for all retailers, regardless of size or category.”
Because of the increase in violence, many retailers are now recommending that their employees allow the thefts to happen in order to ensure the safety of their employees.
Most often, retailers reported, shoplifting involves an individual or individuals (groups of <3 persons) working together to steal. These individuals include both opportunistic shoplifters and those stealing to benefit an organized retail crime network. The most aggressive or violent shoplifters, as reported by respondents, are those involved in groups, gangs and smash-and-grab thefts, followed by repeat offenders.
Repeat offenders are an ongoing concern: 70% of respondents reported an increase in theft from repeat offenders, with 61% seeing an increase in financial loss and 53% seeing an increase in violence from this group of thieves.
Activity involving juveniles is another rising concern. More than 33% of respondents have seen increases across all aspects of juvenile shoplifting (frequency, financial loss and violence), and 41% reported an increase in juvenile violence during theft events.
It should come as no surprise that the hotspots of organized theft are Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Calif., New York City, Atlanta, Chicago, Seattle, and Sacramento.
The survey found that stores have reported that some of the most commonly stolen items in organized retail theft incidents are seafood, backpacks, athletic clothes, mobile devices, and pain medication. It should surprise no one that items of higher value are being stolen in cities and states that increased the threshold for a felony offense. Equally unsurprising is that in areas where cash bail was eliminated, there were more repeat offenders.
This is the kind of society that Democrats want us to live in, where criminals rule, knowing full well that they won’t face any significant consequences.