Shoplifting has become a serious problem in recent years, with businesses shuttering stores and investing heavily in security. Organized retail theft, which has a group of criminals burglarizing a store in a coordinated attack, led to $112.1 billion in losses in 2022, according to the National Retail Federation.
But some companies are fighting back. Large chains like Walmart, Target and Walgreens are taking a proactive approach to reducing theft. Cities and states are taking measures to prevent it too.
Shoplifting is nothing new. For as long as goods have been traded, criminals have come along to steal things.
Some might even argue that shoplifting itself is no worse than it’s always been. The Council on Criminal Justice reviewed shoplifting instances in big cities, where organized retail theft rings often thrive. Their research indicated that shoplifting instances were 7% lower than 2019 numbers in Los Angeles, Dallas and San Francisco. Rates in New York City are higher than pre-pandemic levels, though.
The alarm comes from the larger number of online videos showing the crimes. Since they’re often carried out by large groups of criminals, the videos can seem intimidating. For that reason, cities like San Francisco are increasing police activity in areas that are at high risk for organized retail theft.
But police aren’t the only ones working to fight these crimes. Seeing the toll crime rings take on their bottom line, businesses are boosting security, as well.