New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ plan to address the harassment of retail employees by shoplifters includes installing food stamp kiosks, and conflict resolution training for workers, Adams announced on Wednesday.
There was a 77% increase in retail theft complaints from 2018 to 2022 in New York City, according to the report titled “Combatting Retail Theft in New York City.” Adams announced his plan at a press conference on Wednesday and intends to address the uptick in shoplifting by being more lenient toward shoplifters and installing food stamp kiosks, among other things.
The recommendations outlined in the publication included intervention programs to allow first-time shoplifters to avoid prosecution and paves the way for habitual offenders to do community service in lieu of jail time. Additionally, it recommends kiosks be placed in shops that allow shoplifters access to food stamps, mental health treatment and housing. Finally, it provides mental health services for retail workers that have been the victim of an attack and offers conflict resolution training to avoid potential future attacks.
Last year, 28% of active shooter incidents happened in places of commerce, such as retail stores, according to FBI data. Adams’ recently published report calls for the utilization of Employer Support Programs (ESP) to address this issue by teaching employees de-escalation skills, and for mental health services to be provided after an attack. (RELATED: ‘Our Stores Cannot Continue’: NYC’s Grocers Beg State Officials To Crack Down On Shoplifting Epidemic)
This year, a group representing over 4,000 local grocers, Collective Action to Protect our Stores (CAPS), lobbied the New York City Council to hold habitual shoplifters and those that assault retail workers accountable. Adams’ plan does not include any of the recommendations from CAPS.
“Last year alone, 327 repeat offenders were responsible for 30 percent of the more than 22,000 retail thefts across our city,” said Adams during the press conference on Wednesday. “This plan will help us invest in diversion programs and in underlying factors leading to retail theft, works upstream to stop some of the factors leading to a crime before one takes place, trains retail workers in de-escalation tactics and security best practices, and takes numerous actions to increase necessary enforcement against repeat shoplifters and deter organized crime rings perpetrating these thefts.”
Incidents of petty larceny in New York City at major commercial retailers involving items that cost less than $1,000 increased by 53% between 2019 to 2022, according to an analysis by John Jay College. Thefts from drug stores increased by 105%, and thefts from chain stores increased by 91% during that time period.
“And any type of plan that the mayor puts forth, although it may be well-intentioned, is going to be at a significant disadvantage because our judges do not have the discretion to be able to set bail, or detain someone that continuously commits these types of crimes,” New York State Assemblyman Michael Tannousis told the New York Post.
So far this year, 70% of individuals arrested for shoplifting have been arrested for shoplifting previously, according to NYPD chief of Crime Control Strategies, Michael Lipetri. “We have individuals that have been arrested over 30 times just this year targeting the same businesses,” he said.
Mayor Adams’ Office did not immediately respond to Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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