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Jail the Shoplifters

Posted on Tuesday, May 23, 2023
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by Outside Contributor
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67 Comments
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Brazen shoplifting is hurting all of us.

I’m brushing with bubble gum-flavored children’s toothpaste because it takes too long to get a clerk at the pharmacy to unlock the adult toothpaste. Before the shoplifting scourge, shoppers could actually browse and read product labels.

Target, Home Depot and other retailers announced last week that they are taking big hits to their profits because of double-digit increases in theft nationwide.

That’s after hiking prices on consumers. When the guy next to you loads a bag with whatever merchandise isn’t locked up and walks out without paying, keep in mind that you’re paying for his stolen stuff.

Stores are fleeing San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago and Portland, cities that soft-on-crime mayors and district attorneys have made into shoplifter’s paradises. Downtown San Francisco is slated to lose Nordstrom and Saks OFF 5TH. Anthropologie and Whole Foods have already fled. That means lost jobs and sales tax revenue, empty storefronts and decay. What’s a city without stores?

If we allow our politicians to embrace the philosophy that shoplifting is caused by poverty and should not be criminalized, we will kill our cities and descend into lawlessness.

The Left argues that jailing shoplifters is criminalizing poverty. NPR reporter Sandhya Dirks says taking necessities without paying shouldn’t be considered a serious crime.

Ridiculous. Most poor people don’t steal. It’s an insult to claim they do.

True, homeless people with mental illness or addictions sometimes steal. But organized thievery is increasingly the problem. Thieves go into drugstores carrying calculators to be sure the value of the items they’re loading into their bags doesn’t exceed what the law defines as a misdemeanor — $1,000 or less in New York and most states. A felony risks jail time, and shoplifters will put items back on the shelf to avoid that. They can return the next day for another haul.

They’re gaming the law and stealing goods to resell them, not because they’re hungry or need diapers for a baby.

In New York City, nearly one-third of shoplifting incidents reported to police last year were committed by the same 327 people — professional thieves — who were arrested a total of 6,000 times.

But they’re still on the streets. “We have individuals that have been arrested over 30 times just this year,” reports Michael Lipetri, New York Police Department chief of crime control strategies.

San Francisco and Los Angeles have the most retail theft in the nation. A poll shows that Californians want to toughen their state’s law to make stealing goods worth more than $400 a felony. The Democratic majority in the state legislature is pushing back — protecting the crooks, not the public.

 Not so in Florida, which revised its law last year to allow prosecutors to aggregate what a thief steals over time in multiple stores and charge the thief with a felony. Some Democrats objected that it would “only penalize poor people” and urged lawmakers instead to “deal with systemic poverty.”

That’s the same drivel New York state lawmakers are parroting to oppose reform. Back in January, retailers banded together to ask Albany lawmakers to revamp the law so prosecutors here can charge serial shoplifters with a felony based on their aggregate haul. So far, no results. That’s a shame.

In 2022, shoplifting complaints in New York City surged 45% from the prior year. Target on Greenwich Street was hit 646 times last year. As one Target employee said in frustration, “at some point, there won’t even be a store.”

On May 17, Mayor Eric Adams unveiled his long-awaited plan to stop retail theft. Adams wants to place kiosks in often-hit stores, where he suggests the needy can sign up for social services instead of stealing. “I’m sorry, but that’s just a pipe dream,” said Ralph Cilento, a retired NYPD lieutenant commander of detectives.

To be fair, Adams doesn’t have much to work with, since Albany Democrats refuse to act. But the kiosks only legitimize the myth that poverty causes crime.

Criminals commit crimes, and they should be arrested, convicted and incarcerated.

Tell your lawmakers it’s time to stop coddling shoplifters and their leftist apologists, and start protecting the rest of us.

Betsy McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York and chairman of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths. Follow her on Twitter @Betsy_McCaughey. To find out more about Betsy McCaughey and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website.

COPYRIGHT 2023 CREATORS.COM

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Philip Hammersley
Philip Hammersley
1 year ago

Only problem with that is that WE are the government and OUR taxes would be going to reimbursements. Instead let the DIMM party, who supports this crap, pay for reimbursement!

tlanger
tlanger
1 year ago

This would be classic “Broken window theory” approach. It even worked in NYC once upon a time.

Melinda
Melinda
1 year ago

This is so infuriating! Even though I don’t live in an area with a lot of theft (rural), I sympathize with those people who do. Stop voting in the criminals who enable criminals. If you do, recall them. Easier said than done, i know. I’m in a red zone in a blue state, so I know the frustration with policy making.

granky
granky
1 year ago

We all pay and suffer from relaxing criminal punishment and laws. The cost of retail losses is just passed on to consumers in prices and inconvenience. The best example is the relaxing punishment for drug offenses. 50 years ago possesion of even maijuana was a felony, all drug cases were felonies and the law was enforced. Almost no one used drugs, it wasn’t worth the risk. No one died from overdoses, very low criome rates. Now, I don’t know anyone whose family has not been harmed by drugs. People who commit crimes without fear of punishment have no reason to change their ways.,

anna hubert
anna hubert
1 year ago

No law and order = lawlessness The true criminals are those who were elected to represent the community and are now shirking the responsibilities too busy pondering to the lawless mob

Barbara Turner
Barbara Turner
1 year ago

I worked cumulatively 12 years retail and I can tell you I’ve pretty much seen it all. Theft only affects the consumer with the outflow of loss to higher prices. It’s wrong to steal and those who do it should be locked up! I turned in 3 women with a small about 8 yr old girl with them who had her UNDER a round clothes display with bags, they were standing around the display rack watching the clerks to make sure they weren’t seen removing clothing items and passing them to the girl to bag under the display!!! I went and quietly alerted Security to their antics, they promptly were detained and arrested. I did not have to witness in the case. I’ve seen many thefts in my retail working days. That incident occurred at a Sears store at a local mall where I just happened to be shopping myself. I’ve seen inhouse thefts, physical “fake thefts” and others you wouldn’t believe. Theft is wrong. Thou shalt not steal. THAT’s ONE OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS!

Michael Stevens
Michael Stevens
1 year ago

I’m so glad I’ve NEVER been retail. The trust of shopping, dining, borrowing (library) renting has gone the way of the dodo in some cities. It’s not likely, but if I were security, I’d have a customer only able to enter the store with a CC deposit. Another option would be to calculate the stolen items average value and add it to legitimate customers bill(s) as a percentage of daily sales. If a customer saw a 3 or 5 or 7% upcharge for all the stolen stuff, they would be able to hear the screaming at the state(s) capital from all over!

Cookiepress
Cookiepress
1 year ago

I read a while back about a store owner who priced all items in the store high enough to meet the felony charge is stolen. If a buyer took the item to the register the price was reduced to the price it should have been
I also think those arrested should have to do community service to make the money it cost the taxpayers for their charges etc and the items they stole. We should not have to pay room and board for them while they sit on their butts

Ann S
Ann S
1 year ago

Lawlessness was created by Brandon and his gang. To intimidate the whites, to show the whites see what you stole from us all these years.
Parents let your kids grow up to be thieves. Endorsed by the president of the US. Just learn enough to add to 1,000 oh yes, how silly of me, no education needed we have calculators. Wow what an opportunity we have missed. We were told hard work gets you wherever you want to go. And all we had to do is go to the store every day and steal. You could after two days even take a day or two off. Oh the stories the youth of today can tell to their grandchildren. Oh I forgot they will have no children let stand grandchildren. They all have been made sterile. See the powers that be wants to depopulate the US and these young bucks are helping in the project. 6,000 thefts and by the same people. That is really spreading equity around. But not a cent more in taxes for those making less than 400,000 dollars year. Haha got ya you are paying more at those stores that are being robbed every day. Inflation does the rest. Heck of a tax hike. Pretty soon everybody from baby to grandma is in the theft business. When will it end? When will sanity return in America? When?????

George M
George M
1 year ago

Thou shall NOT Steal . Period.

DenvilleSr
DenvilleSr
1 year ago

If you don’t prosecute shoplifting, the act of shoplifting is not viewed as a criminal act by the perpetrators. One shoplifter, who was arrested for the 99th time in NYC, said shoplifting is her job. Serial shoplifters are not stealing from CVS alone, they are stealing from all of us. First, prices are raised to cover the increased cost. Then shops close because they no longer can operate at a profit. Downtown areas suffer a blight of closed storefronts and civilized society deteriorates. This is supposed to be the mark of “progressive” liberalism. It is in fact progressive deterioration.

Allen B
Allen B
1 year ago

Stealing anything is a crime and should always be prosecuted. When I work hard for something , it belongs to me, not to society. We are developing a culture that will implode upon itself if private property rights are not protected by the government.

Charlie
Charlie
1 year ago

If the perpetrators are charged twice the amount stolen (or more) the idea of shoplifting would not be a net gain financially. Additional amounts to recover the cost of employing store security should be imposed on the criminals as well. The good merchants and customers are tired of higher prices to cover the thieves’ game of “Rip and Run“. Maybe it just might sink into their thick heads that stealing comes at a very high price indeed.

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
1 year ago

Stick them in work camps OK
Community service .

WRS
WRS
1 year ago

This wouldn’t happen in my town. There would be a lot of shoplifters lying around with shotgun wounds.

MariaRose
MariaRose
1 year ago

You have to say one thing about the progressive illusionists, they sure know how to create a word salad out of anything to make it sound like they know things instead of creating actual solutions. I read about this “solution” that proposes that a kiosk setup is going to “encourage” the thieves during their shoplifting spree to stop and have a “conversation” about their activities and will be “encouraged” to seek an alternate lifestyle. They really need to stop drinking that Kool-Aid or overindulging in the now mostly legal recreational cannabis. Whatever we have to do to combat this we need to do, because despite the delusion statements issued by these people in power positions. most people PREFR a better quality of life situation than the one being forced to accept. The only racist bias thinking is theirs, and sooner or later, those whom they “claim” need help are going to turn around against them when they aren’t getting enough. It is going to take the illusion a while to fall through to reality, especially when what is happening doesn’t affect these”progressive” thinkers in their lives because they use NIMBY tactics to keep it out of their sight.

Joey Mize
Joey Mize
1 year ago

I worked retail from 1999 to 2011 one of the most difficult jobs I ever held. Would not do it again. Could not do it again. I had GREAT EMPLOYEES !! I hand picked them, they were keenly aware of the issues that the store faced. We thrived because we got out from behind the counter and moved through the store.
Being a senior store manager as well was doubly hard on every aspect of life. I have reported photographed and witnessed shop lifting. Some highly aggressive. We were told once by corporate to change the shelf displays of some highly priced items a couple of dozen and to move them up front where they could be more visible. My immediate reply was they won’t last a week up there by the front entrance, within a week 2 shoplifters had spotted them and came after them with big brown paper bags. In less than 10 seconds 25 or 30 items had been swept into the bags and they were gone. A car was waiting out front with a real messed up tag number. We of course never saw the stuff again even after reporting to the local police. As soon as I told the regional manager she said who the H**LL made that decision? My loss ratio went out the window for that next audit. I seldom followed corporate whims again after that. Wonder why gun shops have low theft???

Patriot Will
Patriot Will
1 year ago

A culture that does not punish those who rob from others is a culture that encourages anarchy. A culture that has increasing anarchy is a culture that is headed for certain destruction. The concept of protecting the innocent and punishing the criminal is a fundamental building block of civilized life. Without law and order, the motivation for citizens to work together for the common good becomes increasingly rare. We need good citizens, richer and poorer, to make our country stay healthy and vibrant. Those miscreants who excuse those criminals who shoplift as a way of life are themselves criminals who are encouraging the downfall of this great nation — the United States of America.

Sue
Sue
1 year ago

Shoplifters are not poor people. Shoplifters are people without integrity and care only for themselves—selfish. Poor people have more pride than that.

Barrett Smith
Barrett Smith
1 year ago

Marxism is not good for business.

Doug C
Doug C
1 year ago

We used to hang horse thieves. Shoplifters are todays equivalent, IMHO. HANG ‘EM HIGH!!!

Elena Tellez
Elena Tellez
1 year ago

In the 1980s, Haiti used to cut off thieves hands; repeat offenders? forearms. Hey… have we tried it??? Urban areas in this whole country has flushed down the toilet. How sad?

Robin W Boyd
Robin W Boyd
1 year ago

This is the culture we have allowed to be created by letting Progressives indoctrinate our youth in school systems that are more focused on Socialism than teaching academics. Our youth are not made to be responsible, so they behave irresponsibly. Since this has been a growing issue for half a century now, even adults exposed to Progressive run schools have no sense of responsibility, ethics or morals. We must rid all government agencies and anything under government control of all Progressives.

Rik
Rik
1 year ago

Shoplifting 1st offence: leniency; 2nd offense: penalty but leniency; 3rd offense: extreme hardship because after all, 3 strikes and you’re OUT!

Terry
Terry
1 year ago

Jailing the shoplifters won’t do anything. Make shoplifting of ANY value a felony. Arm clerks in the stores and have an “open season” on shoplifters. That will stop this sh*t!

Nobody’s Business
Nobody’s Business
1 year ago

The death penalty for anyone caught stealing and since Democrats like red flag laws with no due process you can inform law enforcement about anyone you don’t like and then they will get the death penalty. Stealing will stop immediately and everyone will be nice to their acquaintances, a more polite and law abiding society will prevail. Simple solution that everyone is afraid to say or implement.

Gabe Hanzeli
Gabe Hanzeli
1 year ago

Not just jail. jail with all they assets confiscated to repay their victims and no possibility of parole. further make it completely legal to shoot shop lifters.

Wild Wyoming
Wild Wyoming
1 year ago

Just close your stores in cities that won’t prosecute criminals. Or quit sniveling about your losses, it’s costing your customers that support your company in other areas more because you have to recover some of your losses from theft.

William Hodge
William Hodge
1 year ago

Again and again honest people are punished because of the crack head thugs and punk’s stealing. I have a novel approach, have someone in the back watching video and when the stealing starts step out with a 12 gauge shotgun and shoot them straight to hell! Then drag their dead asses to the front of the store and leave them there for a few hours. Knowing these pukes aren’t real smart you may have to shoot 30 or 40 but they might learn better. I’m just thinking here, a dead puke is an honest puke.

PIDL
PIDL
1 year ago

The bottom line is a godless country that does not follow the 10 comandments has caused this. Thou shalt not steal and thou shalt not bear false witness are two that come to mind immediately.

I am in a situation now where 3 people , one are a police officer are claiming my cousin was looting from and airport after a tornado. The said item that was supposedly looted was a camper stove and oven from a destroyed camper picked up miles from the airport.

I have come to the conclusion that our state is very corrupt. Other things I have been discovering proves it. A pound of meth is missing from a police department downstate? A siezed gun from downstate ends up involved in a robbery in Chicago?

One reason I know they are supplying false information is that it was printed in the local newspaper that the two people involved were run off from the airport the night before. The vehicle they would have been driving was my truck, which was sitting in my driveway the before dark, the night before and did not leave until after 9:00 A.M. the next morning.

The problem is this has been going on for decades with no checks or justice.The U.S. government seems to be the same way now. Chicago politics has infected the whole United States.

sdgort
sdgort
1 year ago

Like i have been saying for a long time, it won’t stop until you all stop working, shut the country down, pick up arms, and take our government and freedom back PERIOD!!!!

Myrna
Myrna
1 year ago

Stop broken windows policy works.

johnh
johnh
1 year ago

Follow #7 Of THE TEN COMMANDMENTS ‘You Shall Not Steal” and this problem will not exist.

TonyJ
TonyJ
1 year ago

Time for Snake Pliston.

James Sutherland
James Sutherland
1 year ago

It’s all part of the concerted effort to usher in the NWO …

TommyD
TommyD
1 year ago

This is a problem created and tolerated by the democrats. The politicians and DA’s are violating their oath of office and moronic voters continue to vote for them (supposedly) and keep these criminals in office. I am a retired LEO and can tell you that we used to receive about 1 call a day fora Target store in the Bronx. Sometimes, we received so many calls that we had to ask them to have the criminals sign a release promising to never come back or they would be charged with trespassing. because we were so busy with serious crime, or we had already taken 2 or 3 shoplifters out of Target that day. That caused shoplifting to be a minimal problem in a high crime area. By not prosecuting criminals for up $999.99, the left has emboldened criminals. Also, the fact that the left wants to prosecute store managers and security for “assaulting” a criminal that fights with them, is another case of bizarro world. Joke Biden is not POTUS, he is being controlled by Obama, who famously stated in a Stephen Colbert interview that he would love to have a third term in which he ran the country in sweatpants, while having a figurehead in office. Well, that’s what we have right now. Who can hold Biden responsible, he has some form of dementia and Obama has plausible deniability. Obama hates America and in this case he can do more damage than he did while in office. Not to mention that the media kisses his a$$ every time he makes an appearance.

P2burner
P2burner
11 months ago

This became a huge issue when ANTIFA and BLM discovered they could commit crimes all over the country…burning, looting, threatening…and get away scott free. Nothing like teaching the criminals that crime does, indeed, pay.

teresa
teresa
11 months ago

you can thank the supporters who vote for dumos. biden could care less and no other dem cares, yet they keep getting voted in. we common sense hard working consumers have to pay more bc of thefts. real fair – huh! so keep on being stupid and vote for idiots. John Wayne said, life is tought, but it’s tougher when you’re stupid!

Howard Mackinnon
Howard Mackinnon
11 months ago

Great article, thank you.

Rick B.
Rick B.
11 months ago

This is probably the Left’s next experiment in the battle against law and order (i.e., anarchy): eliminate all speed limit signs, stop signs, and traffic lights. Make freedom of driving a priority!

Pat R
Pat R
11 months ago

Thank Soros for the DA’s who refuse to prosecute criminals.

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