New York Loses More Than $4 Billion To Shoplifting

A recent report revealed that New York businesses lost approximately $4.4 billion due to shoplifting last year. The significant theft also comes amid a wider wave of crime nationwide as conservative critics point to policy in the Empire State as part of the cause.

Overall, New York City has seen a more than 60% increase in retail theft since mid-2019. From January through October 2023, Gotham saw almost 100,000 petty larceny cases, which is almost 30% higher than two years prior.

Furthermore, other parts of the state have seen significant jumps in similar crimes.

The increase in retail theft has led to the New York Police Department (NYPD) tracking serial shoplifting suspects. The NYPD reported that one-third of shoplifting arrests in the city were by the same 327 individuals, who were arrested more than 6,000 times, accounting for 20% of all shoplifting complaints in the city.

Critics pointed to New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s (D) decision to veto a bill intended to create a state task force to deter organized retail theft. The bill would have created a panel to recommend changes to New York’s approach to such crimes.

New York passed a comprehensive bail reform bill in 2019, signed into law by then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D). The measure disallowed bail for many misdemeanor and non-violent felony charges.

The law was followed by a significant wave of crime and both Cuomo and Hochul (D) have attempted to reform the measure through new legislation. However, much of the original arrangement remains in place.

New York’s increase in crime comes amid significant increases in violent and property offenses since 2019. This includes a number of high-profile robberies and shoplifting incidents in major cities.

In particular, California has also seen its share of ‘flash mob’ robberies, in which a crowd of individuals mobs a store and makes off with merchandise.

The Los Angeles area has seen a spike in such robberies in the last several months, including from a Nordstrom department store.