Monday, March 25, 2024

SH**HOLE NEWS: With Rampant Shoplifting, Progressives are Killing Stores Where People Need Them Most; Shoplifting Surge Overwhelms NYC’s Small Businesses; Walmart Closing Stores, Making Big Changes at 100s More

With rampant shoplifting, progressives are killing stores where people need them most:
Every New Yorker knows the pleasure of shopping for luxury items such as socks, toothpaste, or an energy drink, only to find these once-easily accessed goods now locked up behind plexiglass.
“Convenience” stores are anything but convenient when you have to ask the shop’s sole clerk to leave the cash register to unshackle the string cheese.
Rampant shoplifting has now led global shopping-mall giant Westfield to break its lease on its Fulton Center location in lower Manhattan.
The MTA, which owns the site, has filed suit to prevent Westfield from ducking out.
The underground mall/subway station was opened to great fanfare less than a decade ago, with then-gov Andrew Cuomo fulsomely promising it would “spur a resurgence” in the area. He was half right, if he meant a resurgence in constant petty crime, quality of life issues, and vandalism.
Store managers in the complex even report that tip jars are routinely stolen.
New York City’s pro-crime lobby — urbanists, “Defunders,” transit die-hards — have leapt to defend the MTA, possibly the first time the hipster Left has taken the landlord’s side in a lease dispute.
They claim that Westfield is using the myth of urban crime as cover for their own failure to attract and retain quality tenants.
This is a common theme lately, as retailers shutter stores due to the cost of “shrinkage” — retail-speak for “stealing.” Critics believe that stores are exaggerating the problem of theft and crime in order to achieve the real goal of all retailers — to go out of business.
When Target announced it would close its East Harlem location due to the impossibility of operating it “safely and successfully,” City & State New York editor Ralph Ortega called the chain a “traitor” and demanded it “do more” to help the “neighborhood when it’s desperately needed.”
Ortega echoes the words of congressional “Squad” member Ayanna Pressley, who gave an impassioned speech of outrage on the floor of Congress when Walgreens announced it would close a store in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston.
The store had been plagued by theft and violence for years, but according to Pressley the corporate actions were part of a broad conspiracy with roots in the darkest aspects of American history.
“These closures are not arbitrary and they are not innocent,” Pressley thundered. “They are life-threatening acts of racial and economic discrimination.” --->READ MORE HERE
Credit: Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY
Shoplifting Surge Overwhelms NYC’s Small Businesses:
Mom and pop stores have had to add staff or limit the number of customers, as thieves have gotten bolder.
On Valentine’s Day, Gov. Kathy Hochul went to Queens to tout her efforts to curb what store owners say is soaring retail theft.
Accompanied by District Attorney Melinda Katz, Hochul claimed progress for her pilot initiative where people caught stealing are given trespass notices that allow them to be arrested if they return to the same store. Some 318 businesses in Queens had registered for the program, 329 people had been served with the notices and only 29 violated the order.
“What we are focused on is what has become a sophisticated organized retail operation, the smash-and-grab efforts. They go in and swipe everything off the shelves,” she said.
But store owners in the city and retail theft experts say that is only part of the problem and that the governor’s efforts are unlikely to help them very much.
“We have groups who come in and grab stuff and run,” said Robert Morales, whose 784 Hardware store in East Tremont in the Bronx has been in his family for 40 years. “And we have people who come in and wait for the store to get busy and take power tools.”
The story is similar in Manhattan, where Deborah Koenigsberger’s Noir et Blanc clothing boutique is seeing her profits eroded by persistent theft.
“People used to try to hide the fact they were stealing and you could deter them by watching,” she said. “Now people walk in, take a couple of items and walk out the door.”
The problem is widespread, says Lisa Sorin, president of the Bronx Chamber of Commerce and a spokesperson for the Five Boro Jobs Campaign.
“Small businesses have become fearful of people coming in their doors, especially young adults,” she said.
At her Queens event, the governor said that retail theft had reached $4.4 billion in 2022, which translates into a loss of $176 million in sales taxes.
New York City saw the largest surge in shoplifting between 2019 and mid 2023, according to a study of 24 cities by the Council on Criminal Justice, with an increase of 64%. Los Angeles was close with 61%. --->READ MORE HERE
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+++++Walmart closing stores, making big changes at 100s more+++++

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