Only Grocery Store In DC’s Poorest Area May Close Due To Rampant Theft

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The only grocery store in one of Washington, D.C.’s most economically disadvantaged areas is considering shutting down operations, according to The Washington Post.

The Ward 8 location of grocery retailer Giant Food may permanently close over a mounting theft and crime problem, The Washington Post reports. The store has reportedly spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on security upgrades. Despite their efforts, the store has reportedly lost 20% of revenue — totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars per month — due to merchandise theft. The potential closing of Giant Food — which stands as the sole grocery store for Ward 8’s 85,000 residents — has left residents in a state of anxiety. (RELATED: Walmart Eyeing Store Closures, Price Hikes Due To Rampant Theft)

Giant Food did not explicitly claim that they are considering shutting down the store. However, Giant hinted that the future of the Ward 8 location may be in limbo if the store’s issues with crime and theft do not improve.

“However, we need to be able to run our stores safely and profitably,” Giant Food said to The Washington Post, “The reality is that theft and violence at this store is significant, and getting worse, not better. As a result, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to operate under these conditions.”

The chain has implemented a number of security measures to mitigate shoplifting and prevent the closure of any of their 165 stores across D.C., Maryland and Virginia. These measures include: limiting the number of entrances to the store, removing high-value items from shelves, limiting self-checkout stations to 20 items, and locking away more items.

“We have invested in a host of measures to mitigate the issue at this store, and across many stores, but we also need the help and partnership from the community and local officials to truly combat the theft and violence that continues to escalate,” a Giant spokesperson said.

Jo Patterson of the East of the River Public Safety Consortium suggested that economically struggling Ward 8 residents might be justified in stealing from Giant Food.

“If people are hungry, they’re going to — I’m not going to use the word ‘take.’ I’m going to use the word ‘survive.’ They’re going to survive by any means necessary,” Patterson said to The Washington Post.

Large retailers have closed many of their stores located in impoverished and blighted locations due to intensifying theft and crime problems. Whole Foods and Walmart announced the closure of their locations on the south side of Chicago over retail theft. 7-Eleven owners started an exodus from Philadelphia over crime. Lidl Supermarket announced their exit from the Baltimore region over “out of control” problems with theft.