Theft in stores and businesses has increased significantly. This includes everything from shoplifting to smash-and-grab to organized retail crime. The stores may initially pay the price, but they pass on the cost to us as customers in the form of higher prices to cover their losses. The local community also pays a price when stores close because of higher crime rates.
The CEO of Target Corp. has put a number on what is called “inventory shrinkage,” which is mostly theft from stores. Their cost this year was $500 million. When you lose a half billion dollars to theft, you must start making tough decisions. That is why Target (along with many other companies) have started closing stores in high-crime areas.
The Wall Street Journal editors make an important point. Leftists in some of these cities complain about the loss of these stores that create what is called a “commercial desert.” They blame the companies, when they should be complaining about the progressive policies of the politicians in these cities that have allowed crime to skyrocket. The editors remind us that “the first duty of government is to provide for public safety.”
And it is worth mentioning that these losses aren’t just from individual acts of shoplifting. Stores face a growing threat from organized retail crime. “Gangs plan their raids on retail stores, warehouses and trucks or rail hubs.” They aren’t stealing for personal consumption but to sell stolen goods for a profit over the Internet.
In this next election, voters must replace leftist district attorneys with candidates who will enforce the law. This runaway theft affects all of us and creates a culture of disorder and a culture of disdain for the law.