New York City saw the highest increase in shoplifting of any major city over the last several years. The news comes amid a wider increase in theft and general crime faced by American cities since 2020.
New York reported an increase in shoplifting of 64% since the middle of 2019, according to a new study by the Council on Criminal Justice.
In the first half of 2023, the rate of shoplifting has declined by 8%.
The New York Police Department tracked almost 100,000 such cases of petit larceny so far in 2023, which is significantly higher than in previous years.
CNN's John Miller: "You're seeing this kind of shoplifting and organized retail theft happen in places like New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia" because "these are places where bail reform laws, criminal justice reforms, have taken the inside of a jail cell out of the equation" pic.twitter.com/nJKdVNE44y
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) September 27, 2023
Los Angeles was not far behind, with the city facing a 61% increase in retail theft.
The City of Angels has seen a number of high-profile robberies in recent years. Recently, a man in a luxury vehicle was rammed off the road on a crowded freeway and robbed in daylight.
Furthermore, the city has also seen a significant number of ‘flash mob’ robberies in which a large crowd ransacks a retail establishment.
In one of the most high-profile cases, a group of young people entered a Nordstrom location and made off with thousands of dollars in merchandise.
Authorities estimated that the entire haul may have been as much as $100,000.
There have been a number of other similar thefts in the city, including a similar robbery of a Nike location and another flash mob ransacking a Yves Saint Laurent. The latter robbery is estimated to have taken about $300,000 in merchandise.
Los Angeles has seen a more than doubling of retail thefts in the first half of 2023, which is the most of any major city.
The study found a significant increase in theft in a number of cities. Beyond New York and Los Angeles, Virginia Beach, Dallas, Raleigh, Boston and Pittsburgh have all seen significant increases in shoplifting since 2019.
Critics have pointed to a 2019 bail reform law for much of the increase in crime. New York’s legislature has moved to amend the changes several times in recent years.