Think shoplifting is just a petty crime that takes a negligible toll on big retailers — and that pols should keep letting such perps get off virtually scot-free?
Then ask East Harlem residents how they feel about a key Target store now closing its doors due to rampant theft and violence.
Ask the workers who no longer have jobs.
Target says it’s shutting the E. 117th Street store — which only opened in 2010, after years of begging by city officials and residents — along with eight other outlets in similarly crime-wracked cities with progressive prosecutors.
“We cannot continue operating these stores because theft and organized retail crime are threatening the safety of our team and guests, and contributing to unsustainable business performance,” says Target.
It’s a major setback for the neighborhood.
“Target was a staple” in East Harlem, laments ex-City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who repped the area when it opened.
It provided goods “at a price point important to the community” — and “a lot of jobs”; closing it “is a problem.”
Indeed. Retail flight is a sign of the decline of a neighborhood, and maybe a city.
It takes a real toll on shoppers as well as workers who depend on the stores for their jobs.
And it can lead to violence.
Nor are the thieves impoverished Jean Valjeans, stealing a loaf of bread to survive: A National Retail Federation report this week cited “organized retail crime perpetrators” behind the thefts — often fomenting violence.
The hit on these stores nationwide is huge: “Shrink” cost them $112.1 billion in retail losses last year, up from $93.9 billion in 2021, a 19% spike.
And the crooks are growing ever bold: In Philadelphia Tuesday, a group of young looters — who outnumbered cops — hit several outlets in the same night, including Apple, Foot Locker, and Lululemon stores.
There’s no mystery about what’s driving the surge: It coincides with the dramatic elimination of consequences for criminals — especially low-level repeat offenders — in cities with Democratic leaders and DAs over the past few years.
In New York, the state no-bail and Raise the Age laws, along with restrictive “discovery” rules for prosecutors and a host of state and city handcuffs on cops all contributed.
Plus the rise of pro-criminal DAs like Manhattan’s Alvin Bragg — who proudly boasted on his first day in office that he’d avoid imposing consequences on lawbreakers.
As the National Supermarket Association’s Seny Taveras notes, the perps in these cases are mostly recidivists: Of 14,877 shoplifting arrestees in the city this year through July, 64.5% had been nabbed before for shoplifting.
The chief problem: Progressives just don’t care about crime’s consequences for the public.
No stores, no jobs — so what? As long as criminals don’t get “victimized.”
Residents who see stores like Target flee need to remember that attitude come election time.