As major crime continues to soar in NYC under Mayor Eric Adams, shoplifting has reached record highs with over 63,000 incidents reported to police in 2022, a 45 percent increase from nearly 45,000 cases in 2021, and almost a 275 percent increase over incidents in the mid-2000s.
According to the New York Post, a Lower Manhattan Target employee told the outlet on Thursday, "People keep taking things and we can't stop them." The Target department store on Greenwich Street in Manhattan reported 646 incidents of shoplifting last year.
A former NYPD supervisor and an assistant professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan, Chris Hermann, said, "Disheartening numbers, to say the least. There's no quick fix to something like this. Many stores just rely on the police for their issues and that's not realistic nowadays."
A Brooklyn supermarket employee said, "We normally have to let people take whatever they are stealing. If I see someone taking something, I report it to one of the security officers upstairs and then they call the police."
"By the time police get here, the thief is gone," the supermarket employee said. "If I touched someone or tried to prevent them from stealing, I'd get fired. So there's not much we can do. The police aren't here when we need them to be."
A spokesperson for the Collective Action to Protect Our Stores said, "This data confirms what store workers and owners have been feeling every day: Retail theft is at a crisis level in New York City."
"Every day, our workers are being assaulted and stores robbed all while customers are placed in danger; we need the state and city to step up," the spokesperson added.
In December, Adams released a statement and said, "Our retail stores have my commitment that we will continue to work towards real, long-lasting solutions on the issue of retail theft." He then held a two-hour summit at Gracie Mansion aimed at troubleshooting the increase in shoplifting. Top NYPD officials, state Attorney General Letitia James, and all five Manhattan district attorneys were in attendance.
Adams left the summit after 20 minutes, "leaving participants to work it out themselves," reports the New York Post. A report is expected from City Hall on the issue, and a spokesperson said the mayor looks "forward to releasing our recommendations soon, and thanks these business owners for their advocacy."
NYPD data shows there were 43,675 reports of shoplifting along with retail related larcenies and robberies in 2021. That number increased to 63,699 in 2022.
Incidents of shoplifting nearly doubled in NYPD’s 1st Precinct in 2022, jumping from 2,103 to 4,061 and in the 9th Precinct, or the East Village, they jumped from 579 to 1,467.
Another employee told the post, "People keep taking things and we can't stop them."According to local news, there were 433 murders in NYC in 2022, down slightly from 488 murders in 2021. But Adams' NYC murder rate is still noticeably higher than 2019's 318 murders.
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