Frustrated Manhattan businesses call for action to help curb shoplifting

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Thursday, January 19, 2023
Frustrated Manhattan businesses call for action to help curb crime
Local business leaders gathered at an anti-crime summit to discuss strategies for stores that are impacted by crime in New York City. Lauren Glassberg has the story.

MANHATTAN (WABC) -- Local leaders gathered Thursday to discuss strategies for businesses that are impacted by crime in New York City.

The Manhattan Chamber of Commerce's Anti-Crime Summit gave hundreds of business owners a chance to voice concerns over the effects crime has over their livelihoods.

The event also held panel discussions to allow store owners to brainstorm action-oriented solutions to improve issues businesses face in Manhattan.

Store owners are frustrated and say rampant shoplifting is forcing some shops to close down or take popular items off shelves.

Noir et Blanc has sold French fashion in the Flatiron for more than three decades, but lately, its owner is furious and frustrated by crime.

Both her boutique and her thrift store she owns next door have been hit.

"They just come in pick up a hanger and walk right straight to the door, they don't even hide it... you feel violated," Deborah Koenigsberger said.

And at drug stores where shoplifters are frequent, stores now lock up much of the merchandise and hire guards and even NYPD officers.

And many businesses don't even bother reporting most shoplifting cases because they see so little upside. What they want are more consequences for those stealing -- particularly the repeat offenders.

Mayor Eric Adams addressed the crowd and said his administration is continually working to curb crime.

"There is nothing acceptable about individuals walking into stores, taking what they want, walking out, and then when they're arrested for the action, for people to say we are criminalizing the poor, no we're not," Adams said.

Adams said much of the shoplifting and theft is linked to organized crime and it is the ring leaders who really need to be stopped so businesses in the city can thrive.

"There is no such thing as a petty crime when it comes to a small business, there's just not," Koenigsberger said.

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