U.S small business retailers say that shoplifting continues to be a major problem throughout the U.S.
In order to make up for losses due to retail theft, most small business owners have raised prices (64 percent) and/or installed security cameras (50 percent), according to new survey data from Forbes.
Three-quarters say they experience retail theft on at least a monthly basis, while 88 percent of retailers say that shoplifters are more aggressive and violent compared to last year, the report states.
The states most impacted by retail crime are Washington, Maine, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Minnesota, North Dakota, Missouri, and California, as well as Washington, D.C.
The states least impacted by retail crime are Wyoming, Idaho, Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, Maryland, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Alaska, and Texas.
Last month, the National Retail Federation (NRF) brought together representatives from more than 30 retail brands to Capitol Hill to lobby for legislation to better combat retail theft, which is now a $70 billion per year enterprise, according to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’s) Homeland Security Investigations.
David Johnston, NRF’s vice president of asset protection and retail operations, said that 70 retailers participated in the event, which involved 65 meetings with congressional officials to push for passage of the Combatting Organized Retail Crime Act, a bipartisan bill introduced in both chambers of congress last year.
“For most asset protection leaders, including myself, we’ve never participated in a visit to Congress, so we had no idea what to expect when we got to Capitol Hill,” Johnston said. “I think our initial goal was to get probably about 20 asset protection leaders, because this is not something that they normally talk about in public venues … and the results really far exceeded our expectation.”
The legislation would create an Organized Retail Crime Coordination Center led by DHS and would amend Title 18 of the U.S. Criminal Code with provisions to allow easier prosecution of shoplifters.
“It’s the next necessary next step … that’s going to help us reduce what we’re seeing today,” Johnston says. “It’s going to provide stronger, structured law enforcement and retailer collaboration, and it’s going to bring the tools and the resources to really go after the heads and the hierarchies of these groups that are bringing the daily theft and violence to the doorsteps of our retailers in our communities.”