What Can Be Done to Stop the Current Shoplifting Epidemic?

There is a huge increase in shoplifting across the country and our police departments are struggling to respond.

While certain places like San Francisco have made news for legalizing shoplifting under $900, the rest of the country doesn’t have that luxury. They want businesses to stay and to feel safe in their community.

Though with 70% of stores saying they’ve seen shoplifting increase already in 2022, along with $45 billion lost to stealing last year, something more needs to be done.

Case-in-Point

In one shocking example, we saw an organized gang of clever shoplifters steal over $160,000 worth of expensive Chanel bags from their shop in New York over the course of a day.

This is just one example of a higher value heist, but all over the country, there has been a massive spike. It’s normal during times of crisis to see an increase in crime, and we saw a 30% rise after the 2008 financial meltdown.

Massive inflation, years of unhelpful COVID lockdowns, and seeing the law cancelled in front of our eyes, due to the virus, definitely harmed respect for law and order. So did the left’s encouragement of the riots and looting in 2020 after the death of George Floyd.

There’s a difference here in this shoplifting wave from past epidemics: online selling has made it way easier for thieves to make a good living pawning off their stolen merchandise.

There are so many places online to mix in stolen goods with legitimate ones.

Therefore, it’s becoming very time-consuming and difficult for authorities to track down all the places people are selling off shoplifted products.

The Perfect Storm

The rise in shoplifting didn’t come out of a vacuum. There’s also been a huge rise in violent crime. It’s taken police away from some of the more routine patrolling and duties that could otherwise be stopping shoplifters.

When you put that together with a rise in automation and less staff in many stores, it’s the perfect opportunity for looters who go on to sell their stolen stuff online.

A potential law called the Integrity, Notification, and Fairness in Online Retail Marketplaces for Consumers, (INFORM Act) is set to come before Congress and could be one way to toughen tools online.

It would make online sales services responsible for giving out clear info on what they’re selling if its origin is unclear.

The Bottom Line

Passing INFORM is one step to cracking down on shoplifting, but we need to also look closely at police budgets and at security measures inside shops.

More needs to be done; there is no doubt about that.

Lawlessness in this country has gone far enough. We can’t afford to continue a business climate where shoplifting becomes the norm if we want to remain a prosperous and free society.

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