New York Sees Sharp Increase In Shoplifting

New York City reported a sharp increase in shoplifting so far this year amid a national trend. Many Republicans have blamed New York’s bail reform law, which has allowed some alleged criminals to be released from police custody rather than being held for trial.

New York City has seen almost 22,000 shoplifting incidents so far in 2024. This represents a 5% increase over last year’s total.

Furthermore, the total is just of those incidents logged. Some stores do not report incidents, in part out of concern that police will not attempt to catch the alleged thieves.

The rash of thefts has led to a significant reduction in store locations. Target announced last year that it would close a Harlem location in Manhattan, as well as a number of other locations.

The shoplifting trend has led some retailers to lock up commonly stolen items, including toothpaste and laundry detergent.

New York enacted the nation’s most extensive bail reform effort under former Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D). However, the state has revised the law several times after it was blamed for a significant increase in crime.

The original law allowed for suspects to be released from jail, even if charged with significant crimes.

The ongoing wave of shoplifting in New York came after a significant rise in the thefts of Kias and Hyundais there are elsewhere in the country. Several prominent Democratic Party-led cities sued the auto manufacturers, citing a default that makes the vehicles easier to steal.

Furthermore, some parts of California have seen a sharp increase in ‘flash mob’ robberies, in which a crowd of people come into a retail store, steal a large amount of items, and then leave. Some of the incidents have been caught on film.

The wave of flash mob robberies and other forms of shoplifting has led to the closure of a number of stores in California and beyond. Some retail chains cite the pressures from theft in their reasons to close.