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Op-Ed: Retailers report historic shoplifting losses in 2022

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“By God I will stop these retailers from gouging their customers with their high prices.” – Joe Biden

The crime of shoplifting is a serious offense that is often not taken as seriously as it should. In fact, many people believe that shoplifting is a victimless crime – especially since many retail outlets and big box stores have a high sales volume. This is far from true. The cumulative effect of shoplifting and theft is substantial and the losses are absorbed by every honest paying customer each day.

According to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention, over $13 billion worth of products are stolen from retailers every year. This amounts to $35 million in stolen property each day! Even more shocking is that 1 in 11 people will commit the crime of shoplifting in their lives but only 1 in 48 will get caught. And less than half of these crooks arrested by police will even be prosecuted!

In all states, punishment for shoplifting coincides with the value of the stolen property. If the value of the items shoplifted is less than $1000, than this is petty theft. These were once the typical cases of shoplifting that retail stores dealt with. Most of these shoplifters were caught by store security, ticketed by the police and released. They were given a court date and usually paid a nominal fine.

The crime of shoplifting used to parallel the income and poverty levels of the communities where the retail stores were located. Stores in lower income neighborhoods with patrons that received federal and state welfare checks, on the WIC program, and received food stamps had the highest rate of shoplifters. And most shoplifting fell under the petty theft threshold and was absorbed by retailers.

But this was about to change after the violent George Floyd protests and the 2020 general election.

During the heart of the George Floyd violence, looting and riots, many progressives campaigned to defund the police. And they were joined by local liberal officials who chastised police departments.

“There’s a lot of innocent people who’ve been unfairly jailed during these protests.” – Kamala Harris

For several years, George Soros has been financing an underground movement to downgrade or even eliminate criminal punishment. He has given millions of dollars to progressive candidates in district attorney races throughout the nation. His goal is to cripple the hands of law enforcement.

Working with activist attorneys, public records show Soros funneled cash through a complicated web of federal and state political action committees as well as disputable non-profits nationwide.

He gave $3 million alone to local protest groups that disrupt and limit the work of law enforcement.

“People use false accusations and smear tactics to distort the merits of my work.” – George Soros

According to the National Retail Federation, since 2015 Soros has given over $20 million to far left candidates running in local DA races. The FBI’s annual Uniform Crime Report blames Soros for the spike in crime throughout the nation. And with the vast number of progressive prosecutors refusing to prosecute many of these criminals, shoplifting is now a major crime across the U.S.

Between 2015 and 2019, retail shrink rose annually 7% according to the NRF. In 2020, it surged by 47% and in 2021 it increased 10% more. Retailers recorded a 26.5% surge in organized gang theft incidents last year. This nationwide shoplifting epidemic is crippling the profits of brick-and-mortar retailers, which have closed hundreds of retail stores nationwide and plan to close more in 2023.

Nonprofit Capital Research Center’s 2022 Retail Security Survey found that retailers lost $94.5 billion overall in 2021 mainly due to external theft and organized retail crime. According to Scott Glenn of asset protection for the Home Depot, “Theft attempts at our stores are the highest ever.”

For the first time since its founding in 1883 by Bernard Kroger in Cincinnati, Ohio supermarket giant Kroger last year listed “organized grab and run theft” as a factor that has forced Kroger to raise shelf prices across the board to compensate for major theft to preserve their profit margins.

KTLA-TV, Hollywood, CA recently reported that 7-Eleven chain executives ordered franchises in LA County to lock their doors and go home after a recent overnight crime spree that left two dead and three wounded. Thousands of dollars in merchandise was stolen in a dozen armed robberies.

Rachel Michelin, president of the California Retailers Assn., told the San Jose Mercury News that in San Francisco and Oakland alone, businesses lose $3.6 billion to organized retail crime each year. That is about 20% of the combined total of reported retail sales in both Oakland and San Francisco.

“The number one rule of thieves is that nothing is too small to steal.” – Jimmy Breslin

Michael Lipetri, chief of NYPD crime patrol, says he hasn’t seen crime levels like this since 1995. From Jan. 1 through Sept. 12, 2021, the NYPD says there were over 29,000 complaints for grab and run shoplifting. During the same time period in 2020, they recorded 20,000 of these cases.

Lipetri says, “We have over 1,700 individuals during the past year that have been arrested for three or more major shoplifting arrests. Yet if you look at the number who have been arrested compared to those who have been prosecuted, a very small percent have actually served any jail time at all.”

We’ve all heard the adage “Let the punishment fit the crime.” This is the theory of retributive justice. When someone breaks the law, they must suffer proportionally for their offense: or “the greater the crime, the greater the punishment.” Now that we have so many progressive DAs in Democratic run states who send few crooks to jail, we have an epic crime wave across America. The progressives soft on crime policies are harming businesses and they are harming our law abiding Americans.

The Democrats’ crime policies are leaving communities to fend for themselves since these crooks endanger everyone in the store when they are shoplifting. Since these crooks know that most of the time the police will not show up, they are violent and reckless and are a threat to all shoppers.

Today’s grab and run shoplifting cartels are not like the kids who stole candy from the local grocery store. These are organized syndicates of criminals who steal whatever they can and sell it on the open market. They sell stolen items on local street corners and even on Amazon and on Facebook.

Retailers across America, especially in Democratic controlled states, are suffering historic losses due to the “soft on crime policies” of Joe Biden and Washington progressives. Executives from Walgreens, Target, Best Buy, Home Depot and Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said they will raise prices and close more stores if this crime wave continues. They claim they have no alternative but to pass their losses on to paying customers.

“Nothing is easier, or more satisfying, than blaming high prices on those who charge them rather than those who have caused them.” – Thomas Sowell

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