New York Shoplifting Forces Retailers To Lock Up Everything

( – Shoplifting is so prevalent in New York City that shopkeepers place locking devices on everyday products. The Fairway supermarket on the Upper West Side of Manhattan has placed lids that can only be opened upon purchase on its stock of Häagen-Dazs and placed a sign next to them that reads, “To help maintain the lowest possible cost, a protective lock has been placed on some units of ice cream.”

A customer at the store said protecting the ice cream from theft is a sign of the times. “This is the New York that we know,” he said.

At the Duane Reade at Broadway and 71st Street, the shopkeeper has a padlock and chain keeping the ice cream safe and said that people had come into the store with bags and just cleared out the ice cream fridges. A Duane Reed store on East 53rd said, “We had to put the locks on because people kept stealing our Red Bull and Ice cream out of the fridge.”

In February, the New York Post reported that shoplifting had reached a record high in the city, jumping by 45% between 2021 and 2022. An employee at a Target outlet in Lower Manhattan said there was nothing the staff could do. “People keep taking things, and we can’t stop them. If I touched someone or tried to prevent them from stealing, I’d get fired,” the employee said.

According to a New York Times report in April, most of the theft in the city is carried out by a small number of people. The report claimed that 627 people were responsible for 6,000 thefts, meaning the issue is one of career criminals and repeat offenders.

District Attorney Alvin Bragg said he is aware that repeat offenders are a major source of crime and announced last year that his office would work with the NYPD to focus on recidivism and bring repeat offenders rates down. An NYPD union officer, however, said Bragg is emboldening criminals.

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