As organized retail crime rings continue to pillage stores and make headlines in New Jersey and across the nation, Assemblyman Alex Sauickie says he is joining with business leaders and local law enforcement to combat this scourge legislatively.
Sauickie met recently with those stakeholders as part of Fight Retail Crime Day, a day designated by the National Retail Federation to bring awareness to this growing problem.
NRF, the world’s largest retail trade association, blames retail crimes for $112.1 billion in shrinkage last year, a jump of $18.2 billion from 2021. NRF members report significant increases in violence and aggression from these criminals.
“This is not a victimless crime. Whether in our towns or just a news story from some soft-on-crime city far away, we all eventually pay with higher prices and shuttered stores,” Sauickie (R-Jackson) said in a statement.
“Thankfully, New Jersey hasn’t succumbed to the backward defund police policies that have ravaged cities throughout the U.S. But we need to support our retailers, support our law enforcement, and ultimately communities, by passing tough legislation that makes this crime not pay.”
The assemblyman plans to introduce a resolution supporting federal legislation sponsored by Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley known as The Combating Organized Retail Crime Act which would create a multi-agency coordinated response network as well as new tools to identify and combat ever-evolving theft trends while increasing existing penalties.
“Retail stores in New Jersey lost out on more than $2 billion last year because of shoplifting.
In addition to the resolution, Sauickie has signed his name to legislation (A4736) sponsored by Assemblywomen Kim Eulner and Marilyn Piperno (both R-Monmouth) that creates the crime of gang shoplifting as a third degree felony. He is also reviewing other pending criminal legislation supported by retailers.
It’s a low-risk, high-reward crime that has left retailers and law enforcement in a quandary: employees are barred from approaching or apprehending shoplifters due to increasing violence, while some police agencies plead for reporting in real time and others don’t prioritize shoplifting calls. Meanwhile, ringleaders can rake in millions as they rely on shoplifters for hire, who if prosecuted get slaps on the wrist.