Common-Sense Approach To Shoplifting: Lock Up Thieves, Not Goods

With an alarming increase in shoplifting and the subsequent penalizing of merchandise, America’s retail landscape is grappling with serious challenges. As Betsy McCaughey, former Lieutenant Governor of New York, argued in a recent op-ed for the Daily Caller, we ought to lock up the shoplifters, not the merchandise.

McCaughey’s take is compelling, considering her distinguished credentials. She currently serves as the Chairman of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths, leveraging her experience and expertise in public policy.

Lamenting her experience with locked-up merchandise, McCaughey underlined how shoplifting hurts all of us. She shared her frustration over using children’s toothpaste due to the tedious process of unlocking adult toothpaste at a pharmacy – a stark example of how the current situation penalizes the honest consumer.

But it’s not just an inconvenience to shoppers. Retail giants such as Target and Home Depot are taking significant hits to their profits due to double-digit increases in theft nationwide. These losses, unfortunately, get passed onto consumers in the form of increased prices.

Shoplifting doesn’t just harm retailers and consumers but also the cities. Retailers are exiting cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, and Portland, known for being soft on crime. The departure of retailers leads to job losses, decreased sales tax revenue, and urban decay.

This wave of shoplifting comes when some politicians soften their stance on the crime, attributing it to poverty. McCaughey rightly points out that most impoverished individuals do not resort to theft, calling such claims an insult.

This is echoed by Fox News personality Greg Gutfeld, who, in a recent op-ed, highlighted the plight of San Francisco. Once known for its vibrant retail sector, the city has seen multiple significant retailers shutter their doors due to rampant theft.

Gutfeld noted the far-reaching consequences of shoplifting and how it negatively impacts customer foot traffic. He also criticized liberal policies that have failed to punish criminal behavior, ruining the city’s retail landscape.

Shoplifting in America today isn’t a crime of need; it is increasingly organized and calculative. McCaughey mentions thieves smartly ensuring the value of stolen goods falls under misdemeanor limits, only to return the next day for another haul.

In New York City, for instance, nearly one-third of shoplifting incidents reported to the police last year were committed by the same 327 individuals, indicating a system being gamed by professional thieves.

McCaughey and Gutfeld urge lawmakers to stop soft-pedaling shoplifters and their leftist defenders and start protecting law-abiding citizens. It’s time to revise the laws and prosecute these thieves, not merely lock up the merchandise they target, because the consequences of this shoplifting epidemic affect all of us.

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