Thanks to a new anti-theft law, shoplifters could be serially charged with trespassing after entering a store.
The crackdown in Queens, New York, aims to ban thieves from stores fighting both retail crime and inflationary prices.
The initiative, called the Merchants Business Improvement Program, allows business owners to apply for retraining orders against people who consistently steal or harass store associates.
“Given the high rate of theft we are seeing across the city, it is absolutely vital that we continue to fight back,” Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said in a statement.
“We will not allow a small group of individuals to terrorize shopkeepers, their employees and customers and disrupt our local economy.”
“We won’t let that happen because when our local businesses thrive, our communities thrive.”
The New York Police Department is asking shopkeepers to join the program and help police catch criminals who continue to threaten small businesses.
Retailers across the country are working to find solutions to the $70 billion shoplifting problem fueling the so-called retail apocalypse.
Supermarket chains like Walmart have been criticized for taking intrusive anti-theft measures, such as locking cheap items behind plexiglass and installing more cameras at self-checkouts.
CEOs like Target’s Brian Cornell have expressed their fears of theft, which steals large quantities of product while jeopardizing the security of stores.
This latest update could benefit New Yorkers in particular, as it was revealed that 6,000 thefts were committed by just 327 people. The New York Times reports.
Then as now, entrepreneurs feel helpless as organized criminals become bolder with their unlawful acts.
A Washington DC community came together to sound the alarm over a Giant Food supermarket that has lost over $500,000 worth of merchandise.
“We know these are difficult times and we know food prices have skyrocketed over the last three years,” Councilor Trayon White said at a news conference.
“We can’t afford to hurt ourselves by constantly taking something from the store because I mean everyone is going to run out of room to eat and enough is enough.”
The company’s president, Ira Kress, told local NBC affiliate WRC that shoplifting at many Giant stores has skyrocketed in recent years.
“The level of theft and associated violence has probably increased five to tenfold over the past three years,” he said.
This means that many popular products are now kept under wraps.
“We’ve banned baby formula, we’ve banned razor blades, and we have some stores that have banned certain types of soap or different deodorants or air fresheners,” Kress said.
He believes more effective law enforcement is the solution for retailers.
“Without these tougher laws, without the application of these laws, without the enforcement of these laws, we will continue to see an escalation in crime and an escalation in violence,” Kress said.