According to an analysis by Forbes, based on Washington’s share of the country’s population, the Evergreen State accounts for 48 percent more retail theft than a state its size should.
Washington was also ranked the third worst in the total value of items stolen, with an average loss of $347 per person.
The outlet also placed the Evergreen State in the top 20 worst states for the cost to small businesses from retail crime.
The analysis was done by the outlet on retail theft statistics nationwide to find out how much it has been impacting small businesses, those employing up to 50 employees. Investigators examined shoplifting, internal theft, and theft reporting.
Twenty-one percent of the businesses surveyed claimed they experience theft multiple times a week with eighteen percent saying it occurred every week, and thirteen percent said there was theft every day.
Forbes investigators also discovered that more small business owners were more inclined to report theft to their insurance companies than the police because it was too time-consuming to do so.
Additionally, the majority of retail small business owners are anticipating more theft during the upcoming holiday shopping season.
King County, Washington’s most county has been known for its "revolving door justice system." Prolific offenders with dozens of convictions are often arrested only to be quickly returned to the streets.
Much of the theft in the area is also blamed on the massive homeless population which is fueled by a drug crisis. Under previous county prosecutors, King County, along with neighboring Snohomish County became the first in the nation to stop charging people for possessing small amounts of drugs, including heroin, meth, and crack in virtually all cases in 2018. The policy was not addressed until this year.
Additionally, Seattle, Washington’s largest city has lost over 600 officers since the city council began defunding the department in response to the George Floyd riots in 2020 that rocked the Emerald City.
Following the exodus, crime spiked and the city just tied the all-time annual homicide record set back in 1994.
Many retailers have fled the Emerald City in the wake of the lawlessness.
Forbes also cites a study by the National Retail Federation that revealed more US retailers believed organized retail crime was a bigger problem in 2023 (78.1 percent) compared to 2022 (70.7 percent). Additionally, 88 percent of retailers feel criminals have become more aggressive and violent in the past year.
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