Target Closes Nine Stores in Crime-Ridden Cities
Target, one of the largest retailers in the US, has announced that it will close nine of its stores in cities with high rates of theft and violence. The company said that it cannot continue operating these stores because “theft and organized retail crime are threatening the safety of our team and guests, and contributing to unsustainable business performance” .
One of the stores that will be shut down is the East 117th Street store in East Harlem, New York, which opened in 2010 after years of lobbying by city officials and residents. The store provided goods at affordable prices and jobs for the community, but it also became a target for shoplifters and criminals. Former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who represented the area when the store opened, said that the closure is “a problem” and “a major setback for the neighborhood”.
The other eight stores that will be closed are located in Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington DC. These cities have also seen a surge in crime and violence in recent years, partly due to the policies of progressive prosecutors and lawmakers who have reduced or eliminated consequences for low-level offenders. According to a report by the National Retail Federation, retail losses due to “shrink” (theft, fraud, and errors) increased by 19% in 2020, reaching $112.1 billion.
Lululemon Faces Backlash After Firing Employees Who Stopped Thieves
Lululemon, a popular brand of athletic apparel, is facing criticism after firing two of its female employees who tried to stop a group of shoplifters from stealing from a store in Peachtree Corners, Georgia. The incident, which was caught on video, showed the employees confronting the thieves and grabbing some of the merchandise back, while the thieves pushed and shoved them.
The company said that it fired the employees because they violated its policy of not engaging with shoplifters, which is meant to protect the safety of its staff and customers. However, many people online accused the company of being “woke” and siding with the criminals, while abandoning its loyal and hardworking employees. Some customers also said that they would boycott the brand or return their purchases.
Lululemon is not the only store that has been targeted by organized retail crime gangs, who often operate in large groups and use violence and intimidation to get away with their loot. In Philadelphia, a mob of young looters hit several stores in one night, including Apple, Foot Locker, and Lululemon, and outnumbered the police who tried to stop them. These incidents have raised concerns about the impact of shoplifting on public safety and business viability.
How to Prevent and Combat Retail Crime
Retail crime is not a victimless offense, as it affects the livelihoods of store owners, employees, and customers, as well as the quality of life in the neighborhoods where the stores are located. It also poses a risk of violence and injury to anyone who tries to intervene or resist. Therefore, it is important to take measures to prevent and combat retail crime, such as:
- Installing security cameras, alarms, and locks in the stores, and displaying signs that warn of the consequences of shoplifting.
- Training staff on how to detect, deter, and report shoplifters, and providing them with support and protection.
- Cooperating with law enforcement and other retailers to share information and resources, and to prosecute and recover losses from shoplifters.
- Educating customers and the public about the harms and costs of retail crime, and encouraging them to report any suspicious or illegal activity.
- Advocating for laws and policies that hold shoplifters accountable and deter them from reoffending, and that support the rights and interests of retailers and their communities.
Retail crime is a serious and growing problem that threatens the safety and prosperity of everyone involved. By working together, we can stop the thieves and looters from ruining our stores and neighborhoods.