The shoplifters are winning — and they’re causing untold misery for shoppers, retailers and store workers across the nation.
When will this utter madness end?
When will Gov. Kathy Hochul and New York lawmakers realize they need to make attacks on retail workers an automatic felony — and see that the perps suffer real consequences — in order to stem the tide?
Stores throughout the city are locking merchandise behind plastic barriers.
And raising prices.
(If not closing altogether.)
Walgreens is debuting a store in Chicago where the goods in all but two aisles are kept safely out of customer reach.
At a Home Depot in North Carolina, a worker was actually pushed to his death by a shoplifter running off with stolen merchandise.
This is the sick world progressives have wrought.
They excuse it by claiming shoplifting is a crime of poverty, and prog prosecutors turn around and vow not to go after the thieves.
Now-ousted San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin proposed to fight the scourge by addressing “root causes.”
Manhattan’s Alvin Bragg promised during his campaign to go soft on retail theft, and delivered.
Chicago’s Kim Foxx dramatically eased felony requirements for shoplifting almost as soon as she came into office.
Boston’s DA until last year, Rachael Rollins, ordered her prosecutors not to go after shoplifters without special permission from their bosses.
The result: Retail theft — no matter how serious, and even when perpetrated by organized-crime gangs — has been de facto legalized in blue cities (a problem aggravated by shrinking police forces and perverse pro-criminal reforms).
These are not crimes of poverty, the data show.
In New York, 327 people accounted for some 30% of the city’s 22,000 shoplifting arrests in 2022.
(Reported thefts, north of 63,000 for 2022, were up 45% over 2021 and nearly 275% compared to the mid-2000s.)
They’re sociopathic crimes of opportunity. And they have deadly consequences everywhere.
Witness Jeff Rasor crying out for help from law enforcement on Nightline after his father, that North Carolina Home Depot employee, was brutally murdered by a cold-blooded shoplifter trying to make off with three pressure washers.
Hardly Jean Valjean stealing bread for his family.
Just as bad are this crime wave’s less spectacular but equally corrosive effects.
Like goods under lockup — not just in Chicago (where Walgreens absurdly dodges about it being a response to crime) but here in New York and elsewhere.
Or Whole Foods abandoning its SF flagship because of crime, and multiple Walmarts and Targets shutting down over the same issues.
Even giant chain stores are turning into lawless, dangerous places, with unabashed crooks owning the aisles — where both shoppers and employees are afraid.
That’s to say nothing of mom-and-pop operations crushed into oblivion.
Or workers who are put in an impossible position by sneering leftist DAs and other electeds: Let criminals get away with it or risk death.
Something must be done. The bill from Sen. Jessica Scarcella-Spanton (D-Staten Island) and Assemblyman Manny De Los Santos (D-Inwood) currently in committee in New York’s Legislature to make attacking retail workers an automatic felony would be a more-than-necessary start.
But only a start.
Contra Boudin, retail theft must be addressed by swift, harsh consequences — above all for serial offenders — and no more pabulum about equity or justice.
Unless and until lefty DAs wake up, the social decay, economic pillage and tragic bloodshed they’ve authored will continue.
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