Target announced this week that it will be closing nine stores as a result of theft and organized retail crime making the environment unsafe for both staff and customers.
As we’ve seen on the news lately, there has been a wave of retailers struggling to manage crimes in their stores, and the costs have gone straight to the bottom line. We’ve seen reports of stores closing, needing to lock up merchandise, and taking other measures to mitigate the effects of this crime wave. There’s a thought that with food becoming so expensive and inflation continuing at a higher level, shoplifting is sort of a normal part of doing business.
That said, the rise in activity from ORGANIZED crime groups is putting a different spin on what’s happening today.
Target says they plan to close stores on October 21 in New York, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and Oakland. The company has previously said that they expect to lose about a half a billion dollars this year due to theft. According to the National Retail Federation the cost of external and internal theft, fraud, and damage cost retailers about $112 billion in 2022, up from $93.9 billion in 2021.
Of course, like everything else these days, politics also plays a role here. In certain cities it’s thought that criminal justice reform laws and local District Attorneys' policies make it very attractive for these criminal groups of thieves to operate. In certain cases, shoplifting is now a crime that will no longer result in jail, and in some cases, even the requirement to post bail has been removed, regardless of how many times a thief has been caught. Basically, there is no disincentive in the system.
To put a fine point on the problem, there’s a story circulating of a Vietnamese restaurant, Le Cheval, that has operated in Oakland, California for 38 years. It has announced it will close at the end of the month, citing burglaries and violent crime in the neighborhood.