Lawmaker Highlights Rising Retail Crime in Washington as a Concern, Asks Legislature to Address Issue

By The Staff of The Chronicle

The state government must take action on retail crime, State Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, said in a news release this week.

“While we’ve seen a spike in many areas of crime, retail theft and other retail crime is particularly a problem,” Schoesler said. “Retail crimes not only harm shops and stores, but also consumers, as these crimes force retailers to raise prices. The Legislature, Governor, and Attorney General must take action to dramatically reduce retail crime in Washington. »

The value of items stolen from stores more than doubled in Washington State from 2019 to 2020, and the Washington Retail Association estimates that organized crime groups stole $2.7 billion from retailers in 2021.

Washington also has the second highest retail theft rate per capita of any state in the country after Pennsylvania. Last year, 23,323 cases of shoplifting were reported in Washington state in 2021. Seattle also ranked eighth among major cities for retail crime in 2021.

Schoesler says retailers have seen an increase in thefts and fraud on their property as organized thieving rings have become more “brazen, violent and sophisticated in targeting stores.” He believes these organized crime groups endanger customers and store employees and are involved in other crimes such as human trafficking, money laundering and narcotics.

“Retail crime, particularly theft, has gotten so bad in recent years that the Washington Retail Association just released a retail crime resource guide for its members,” Schoesler said. “To me, that means the state isn’t providing enough help to retailers, and local and state law enforcement doesn’t have enough officers to effectively deal with retail theft.”

Schoesler sits on the Senate Labor, Commerce and Tribal Affairs Committee, which held a working session on retail crime last week. Schoesler said the business session is a sign that retail organized crime has come on the legislature’s radar, but added that the issue should still be considered a high priority for the start of the legislative session in January. .

About Timothy Cheatham

Check Also

Amazon Appario Retail: Amazon Appario Retail seller revenue rises 9% to Rs 15,000 crore, profit rises 53%

Appario Retail, the biggest seller on Amazon India, which the retailer said it would close …