New York City Plagued With ‘Shoplifting Epidemic’

Shoplifting has risen to record levels, leading multiple retail outlets to put items behind glass, chain items to display racks and close stores.

The Post Millennial referred to the spike in crime as a “shoplifting epidemic” and noted that reports of shoplifting in New York City rose 45% in 2023 and are on pace to set a new record in 2024.

The Washington Times added that between June 2019 and June 2023, shoplifting in New York City has increased 64%.

Shoplifting has “overwhelmed small businesses in the city,” noted The City News. The outlet profiled Hardware store owner Robert Morales, noting how his family business of 40 years has witnessed the deterioration of law and order.

“We have groups who come in and grab stuff and run,” he said, adding, “And we have people who come in and wait for the store to get busy and take power tools.”

According to the New York Post, nefarious activity represents a loss of approximately $4.4 billion for retailers in New York state. Thieves in New York have established a shadow enterprise that moves stolen goods on online platforms such as eBay and Facebook Marketplace.

Careful thieves often attempt to appear as legitimate sellers by posting single items at a time and coordinating multiple virtual profiles to minimize their profile.

According to the report, thieves sell their wares to known intermediaries, who sell the stolen items online. The Prime Millennial reported that many thieves “receive shopping lists detailing exactly what … to steal.”

The problem is increasing. According to an April 2023 report by the National Retail Federation, approximately 26% of items on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and eBay are stolen items “suspected to be linked to organized crime.”

The more traditional market for stolen items — jewelry, tools, sporting equipment — has reportedly expanded to diapers and perishable food items.

The Post reported that individuals can easily find ice cream, steak, and other food items on the black market, with some items sold online and some at unauthorized street markets.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul recently reported that New York City businesses documented more than 63,000 thefts in 2022. Fox 5 reported on the exodus of retailers and the governor’s recently announced $45 million initiative to address the shoplifting epidemic.