Photo: Michael Appletton/NYC Mayoral Office
The pickpockets that keep small merchants overwhelmedwho have taken advantage of weak laws to punish those who commit minor crimes, now they will have to think twice to continue extracting merchandise from stores in the Big Apple. Everything indicates that from now on, whoever insists on stealing, You will have to face consequences.
The Mayor of New York City, Eric Adamsannounced this Wednesday the launch of a comprehensive plan to combat retail theft in all five boroughswhich has as novel point to create a Precision Repeat Offender Program (PROP).
This new strategy requires, among other things, that retailers be able to submit security incident reports to the New York City Police Department (NYPD) for better identify and track repeat offenders and facilitate stronger prosecutions by the five Prosecutors’ Offices.
In addition, a retail surveillance plan will be established for each neighborhood, to share real-time intelligence and data with law enforcement in case of theft. This program is associated with the initiative NYPD Operation Safe Shopper Created to expand the use of video surveillance cameras among small businesses, such as wineries.
Iron hand and opportunities
The other tourniquet that will be put on the network of criminals who steal from stores, to later resell the merchandise online, is to expand procedures at the state and federal level for authentication of commercialization through the Internet, to thus avoiding the resale of products that have been extracted from the establishments. At this point, the scope of the federal Integrity, Notification and Fairness in Online Retail Markets Act (INFORM) for Consumers will be taken advantage of, which will enter into force in June 2023.
“Just last year, 327 repeat offenders were responsible for 30 percent of the more than 22,000 retail robberies in our city. This hurt our businesses, our workers and our city. This plan will help us to invest in diversion programs and the underlying factors that lead to retail theft”noted Mayor Eric Adams.
The new strategy, which will try to deter thieves on several fronts, includes a program to train retail workers in anti-theft tools and create security best practices to help keep them safe in case of an emergency.
In parallel, although a tougher hand is promised with repeat offenders, they will establish social diversion programs for those who are tempted to shoplift from retail stores.
through the plan Reinstatement of shoplifting and retail establishment offenders (RESTORE), non-violent offenders will be allowed avoid prosecution or imprisonment by compromising access to services to help them address the underlying factors that lead to shoplifting.
Information kiosks will also be installed in some stores to connect people in need with government resources and social services.
“Collectively, we have identified a problem and we are working together to prevent it from continuing. We are going to be in close collaboration with all our law enforcement partners. And, most importantly, along with the people we serve,” he said. Keechant L. Sewell, NYPD commissioner.
The winemakers speak
With the exception of 2020, the total number of citywide shoplifting complaints has increased year-over-year since 2018, with the largest increase (44 percent) between 2021 and 2022.
For their part, the spokespersons for the NYC Bodegas and Small Business Association support the new announcements of the municipal president, but consider that the backbone of the entire strategy will be that a powerful message is delivered: stealing has consequences.
“They are almost always the same thieves, who day by day, in every neighborhood, keep the merchants whipped. If indeed, they themselves begin to notice that now stealing has a punishment, a change will be noticed. We must understand that for small crimes forgiven, almost always begins a great criminal career, ” stressed Francis Mars, leader of this commercial organization.
The Dominican winemaker also points out that until repeat offenders begin to be punished with a tougher hand, the municipal plan will only end in a good intention.
“We see how the same thieves, who are even detained by the police, days after They return to the store to make fun of the merchant, because they released him immediately because petty crimes go unpunished. If the prosecutors do not change their position, we will continue in the same situation,” concluded Marte.
Also, the president of the Union of Winemakers of America (UBA), Radhames Rodriguezcalled the announcements “good initiatives” and invited the City to integrate them into training policies.
“We know the needs of the winemakers. We have already done some training with the support of NYPD. It is key that our people are definitely better trained to avoid tragedies”he concluded.
- 327 repeat offenders were responsible for 30 percent of the more than 22,000 retail robberies in the Big Apple in 2022.
- 101% was the increase in burglary reports in Queens over the past five years, the largest “leap” of the five boroughsaccording to the report ‘Fighting shoplifting in NYC’
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