Mom-and-pop businesses have suffered, too.
That’s a lie.
Not only do these crimes hurt businesses, large and small, they also harm the people who work in those businesses and the city residents who shop at those businesses. When businesses shutter because of the unacceptable risks and loss caused by repeated thefts, the local residents who used to shop in those stores can no longer do so, and have to travel longer distances (and pay higher prices) as a result.
Worse still, the people who used to work in those stores have to find new jobs or go on unemployment.
Plus, employees and customers face danger from these offenders, too. Blake Mohs, a 26-year-old security official and Home Depot employee in Pleasanton, California, was shot and killed in April by a would-be thief. Gary Rasor, an 83-year-old worker at a Home Depot in Hillsborough, North Carolina, died after being pushed to the ground by a shoplifter.
In August 2022, Yowhannes “John” Tewelde, 60, a longtime cashier at a San Francisco convenience store, “died after an alleged baseball bat attack at the hands of a shoplifter who made off with a bottle of water and two beers,” according to SFist. The list could go on.
But when their store employees are assaulted repeatedly by mobs that empty the shelves, eventually they have to speak out.
In earnings call after earnings call this year, CEOs and other executives have started to tell the real impact of these pro-criminal policies and how they are impacting their gross revenues and net income.
Home Depot’s second quarter gross margin was 33 percent, “a decrease of 8 basis points from the second quarter last year, primarily driven by pressure from shrink,” said CFO Richard McPhail.
Target CEO Brian Cornell said they are up against “an unacceptable amount of retail theft and organized retail crime,” noting that shrink in the second quarter was “well above the sustainable level, where we expect to operate over time.” How bad is it? This year, Target is expected to lose $500 million more to theft than last year’s astonishing loss total of $800 million.
Earlier this month, a Walgreens spokesman told Newsweek that “retail crime is one of the top challenges facing our industry today.”
There is a commonsense and simple solution to this recent phenomenon. Prosecute every person who steals, even if it’s a misdemeanor.
Why? Because not doing so contributes to a lawless society, and criminals must be held accountable.