Shoplifting In America Is Wildly Out Of Control

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by Michael Snyder, The Economic Collapse Blog:

Shoplifters are going hog wild all over America, and our politicians seem powerless to stop this crisis.  When I was growing up, shoplifting was something that was pretty rare.  Once in a while some irresponsible idiot would slip a candy bar into his pocket, but it wasn’t something that retailers were too stressed out about.  But now everything has changed.  Retail “shrink” broke the 100 billion dollar barrier in 2022, and the final number for 2023 is expected to be even higher.  Stuff is being stolen from our major retailers on an industrial scale, and this is having very serious consequences.

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From coast to coast, retail locations are being permanently shut down because there is no end in sight to this madness.

This is particularly true in our largest urban areas.  In San Francisco, a Macy’s store that had been open for 77 years is being closed down, and employees are telling the press that shoplifting was the primary factor behind the decision…

Employees at Macy’s flagship San Francisco store in Union Square have blamed its planned closure on shoplifting – despite mayor London Breed claiming crime was not a factor.

The Union Square store announced earlier this week it will be closing its doors after 77 years as part of a plan to close 150 locations across the nation over the next three years.

It isn’t just a few things that are going missing at that Macy’s store.

According to one employee, the men’s department is being systematically looted on a daily basis

“It happens every day,” employee Steve Dalisay said.

Hanging up blazers in the Macy’s sixth-floor men’s department, Dalisay said blazers, wallets and boxer briefs are the items most frequently stolen from his department. He said thieves take at least four blazers every day, adding that he typically sees about 10 wallets and 20 briefs stolen daily.

Another employee says that most of the shoplifting is being done by drug users and groups of teens

Shoplifters, he said, tend to be in two categories: drug users going after specific items for fences or teens entering the store in teams on brazen shoplifting blitzes.

“I’m not in charge of making the estimates of how much we lose in a day, but last year we were told the losses were in the millions,” the employee said.

“It’s a big thing,” he added. “What we have learned is a lot of drug users have deals with the fencers. They’ll give the drug users a list of stuff from the store, and they’ll go try to execute the list.”

Our national shoplifting crisis and our national drug crisis are very closely related.

Drug users need money to fund their habits, and shoplifting is one of the easiest ways to obtain things to sell.

At this point, it would be difficult to overstate the severity of the drug crisis in the state of California.  According to Governor Gavin Newsom, authorities in his state seized enough fentanyl last year “to potentially kill the global population nearly twice over”

Roughly 62,000 pounds of fentanyl smuggled into California was confiscated by authorities in 2023. The total amount of the potent synthetic opioid seized last year “is enough to potentially kill the global population nearly twice over,” Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office announced Tuesday.

In 2023, the California National Guard supported other law enforcement agencies in counter-drug operations across the state, seizing a record 62,000 pounds of fentanyl at ports of entry, according to a news release from Newsom’s office.

That is certainly a lot of fentanyl.

If you can believe it, the amount of fentanyl that was seized in the state in 2023 was more than 10 times greater than the amount that was seized in 2021…

Compared with just a few years ago, the amount of fentanyl seized by authorities has dramatically surged. In 2021, California authorities seized more than 5,300 pounds of the drug, with a street value of $64 million. In 2022 that rose to 28,000 pounds, with a street value of $230 million, based on the U.S. Department of Justice evaluation of illegal-drug values in the Los Angeles region.

We have never seen anything like this before.

A lot of that fentanyl comes from Mexico, but a lot of it also comes from China.

The streets of California cities are flooded with addicts, and they are going to do whatever they have to do to feed their addictions.

So this shoplifting crisis is not going away.

At one hardware store in San Francisco, employees are now escorting customers around the store in a desperate attempt to reduce the level of shoplifting…

A longtime San Francisco business is trying something new to curb what it says has been “rampant shoplifting.”

Fredericksen’s Hardware and Paint in Cow Hollow is now offering a one-on-one shopping experience. The idea is to separate actual customers from those looking to steal from the store.

During certain hours, Fredericksen’s blocks off part of the store’s entrance and has people wait for an employee to help them instead of allowing people to just roam the store. The store’s longtime manager says it’s a move that was worth trying for the sake of the business, their employees, and their customers.

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