NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Citing a dramatic rise in shoplifting over the past five years, New York City Mayor Eric Adams has unveiled a plan to crack down on retail theft in the city.
The plan includes a new, streamlined way for stores to report shoplifting to the NYPD; establishes a neighborhood retail watch program; and creates specialized task force to respond to shoplifting incidents.
Incidents like the one caught on surveillance video of a robber stealing from a jewelry store on 125th Street in Harlem just last month.
"I got hit more than a million dollars," jewlery store owner Asif said. "This was all diamond showcase, they took it with the display. They came with the gunpoint, four people ,,, ied up four people and they took almost everything."
The program also calls for prevention and intervention strategies to address the underlying causes of retail theft.
It builds on a collaborative effort among retailers, law enforcement, and other stakeholders that came together through a summit hosted by the mayor at Gracie Mansion last year.
"This plan aims to reassure our store owners that we know they are essential to our city, and we have their backs," said Adams in a statement. "I want to thank the nearly 100 stakeholders from the public and private sectors who participated in our summit last year and who contributed to drafting this report for bringing forward their innovative solutions to tackle this critical issue."
According to the mayor's office, with the exception of 2020, the total number of citywide shoplifting complaints has increased year over year since 2018, with the largest increase, 44%, taking place from 2021 to 2022.
"I might go out of business because it's hard to pay bills, it's hard to pay rent, it's hard to pay employees," Asif said. "When you don't have merchandise what you gonna sell?"
So far this year, NYPD statistics show shoplifting overall trending down by about 5%.
While thefts of more than $1,000 are up 4.5%, those of $1,000 or are down 6.1%.
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