AUTHORITIES in New York City have launched a crackdown on retail theft after instances of the crime skyrocketed in recent years.
Startling figures released by The National Retail Federation revealed how retailers make huge yearly losses due to theft.
In a bid to tackle the rising issue, New York City Mayor Eric Adams has launched a new task force as retail theft increased by 44 percent between 2021 and 2022.
Stores lost nearly $80 billion last year due to retail theft with total losses of $112.2 billion in 2022.
In 2021 this figure was around $65.7 billion but the increase of almost a fifth of thefts in a year coincides with complaints of increased instances of violent thefts in 2022.
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The new task force is headed by the deputy mayor for public safety Philip Banks III.
It consists of elected officials who will advise the mayor on legislation to tackle the scourge.
In March, Adams released a Retail Theft Report in which he said: “New Yorkers shouldn’t have to foot the bill for higher prices because of theft.
“Employees shouldn’t feel unsafe going to work and businesses shouldn’t have to shutter their doors because of lawless individuals.
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“I will not stand by and let criminals undermine our economy and the livelihood of New Yorkers. We are going to act.”
The report detailed preventative measures needed to help combat retail theft including a collaborative approach from law enforcement, social services, and retailers to prevent shoplifting.
“I am proud to convene this group of experts and practitioners as we continue to take a 360-degree approach to combating retail theft and curbing this serious issue that plagues cities across the country,” Adams said in a statement about the task force.
“Retail theft hurts everyone, from our mom-and-pop shops to large department stores – and especially consumers.
“Together, we recognize the importance of safeguarding our businesses, protecting jobs, and ensuring a safer and more vibrant city for all who live in, work in, and visit our great city.”
In his statement, the mayor noted that retail theft is down this year following efforts from “government, the private sector, law enforcement, and, most importantly, local businesses, but there is always more work to do.”
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