Saturday, June 22, 2024
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California Clamps Down on Serial Retail Theft

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California Clamps Down on Serial Retail Theft
Source: Pinterest

California Clamps Down on Serial Retail Theft

Source: Pinterest

Retail theft is becoming a major issue in the US, and California is one of the states passionate about cracking down on this societal issue. The state plans to introduce new legislation that would allow retail workers to remain safe and hopes it leads to a decrease in the number of popular targeted crimes.

Places Most Affected By Retail Theft

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According to AXIOS, San Francisco, the city and Oakland are the areas most affected by retail theft. Retail theft tends to be more rampant in large metro areas, as these areas often have more goods available for thieves to steal. 

Walgreens Had to Close Several Stores

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There are those who assume that store chains are not bothered by shoplifters, as they can cover the costs of the stolen products. However, according to an AP News report in 2021, Walgreens had to close five of its San Francisco stores and had closed 10 since the beginning of 2019 due to retail crime.

Shoplifting Deterrents Affect Sales 

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Stores have implemented shoplifting deterrents, but this move seems to have the opposite effect. AXIOS reports that stores have seen a drop in sales from 15% to 25%, making it seem like store owners have to pick between putting up deterrents and losing sales or not putting up deterrents and encouraging shoplifters. 

Deterrents Inconvenience Shoppers

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Shoplifting deterrents are in place to make things harder for would-be shoplifters, discouraging them from committing the crime in the first place. However, the deterrents have become an inconvenience to shoppers because they have to find an employee to open the case for them to get the items they need. This wastes their time and can make them want to shop elsewhere or online.

Shoplifting and Its Costs 

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It may seem like shoplifting some bananas, or other small items might not cost the store a significant amount, but it’s a lot more than that. The National Retail Federation reports that shoplifting and organized retail crime cost retailers around $700,000 per $1 billion in sales annually. 

There Are Groups Stealing Thousands at a Time

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These days, shoplifting is no longer restricted to just mere individuals stealing from stores, there are now groups coming in that have made it into an organized crime. These shoplifters are stealing up to tens of thousands of dollars worth of items each time they strike, a sharp spike compared to what it was before.

How Organized Crime Affects the Public’s Confidence

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Californian lawmakers noticed that the increased crime, especially regarding organized retail crime, was doing a lot of damage to the public’s confidence in law and order. The Assembly Democratic Caucus Chair reported that Speaker Robert Riva said they hope the new bipartisan package will reverse this damage and restore the public’s confidence in law and order.

California’s Announcement 

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In April 2024, the California government announced the bipartisan package aims to award stiffer penalties to shoplifters. The package will prevent serial shoplifters from recommitting the offense and impose serious sanctions on those who do. 

The Property Crime Threshold Has Been Lowered

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According to AXIOS San Francisco, the current property crime threshold is $100,000 but will now be changed to $50,000, meaning criminals will be given extended jail time. A restraining order will also be issued to those who commit theft, vandalism, or battery against an employee. 

No More Multiple Theft Cases

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Some criminals commit the same crime in different areas depending on location, leading to multiple court cases for the same crime. The new laws will add multiple theft charges to the same case in one court case and increase the use of diversion and rehabilitative programs. 

The Laws’s Aim

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These new laws are intended to help keep the public and retail workers safe from harm. Many also hope that the tougher laws will deter criminals from committing these offenses.
Do you think the law will be effective? Let us know in the comments.