Gov. Hochul lays out $45 million plan to fight back against organized retail theft

Lucy Yang Image
Wednesday, March 13, 2024
Lucy Yang is on the Upper West Side with the latest on Hochul's proposed anti theft plan.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- It used to be exorbitant rents that would wipe out mom and pop shops -- and now it's crime.

Rampant crime is forcing many businesses to close, and Albany is finally responding.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced a $45 million anti-theft plan on Tuesday to assure merchants that Albany is not tone deaf to retail theft.

Within that proposed plan, $25 million will be dedicated to a retail theft unit within the state police, $15 million for district attorneys and $5 million to help businesses with security.

"The lawlessness, the chaos that is going on in our stores, in our communities, all over the State of New York, it must stop," said Gov. Hochul during a rally on Tuesday.

One Bravo Supermarket in the Bronx is among the many shops hemorrhaging thousands of dollars a month from theft.

"Shoplifting is bad," lamented Jose Frias, owner of the Bravo Supermarket.

Several months ago, Frias says a woman came in with a baby stroller, and filled it with logs of salami which run $20 a pop and ran out.

"She stole $300 worth of salami in her baby stroller in less than five minutes," Frias said.

As a result, he now keeps the salami behind the deli case, but he can't lock up all the items and he can't keep feeding the shoplifters.

From groceries to high-end ticket items, retail theft has made headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Even with the governor's proposal, one question remains: will this be enough to keep crime from killing more stores?

"They're releasing repeat criminals, violent criminals," said Frias. "Crime hurts us."

Hochul's $45 million anti-theft plan is proposed for next year's budget.

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Nina Pineda has more.


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