Like many major Democratic-run metropolitan centers, New York City is currently suffering from a crippling wave of retail theft. Major employers are pulling out, entire aisles are being put under lock and key, store owners are just desperate to stop the costly stealing.
The city government, meanwhile, this week launched "a comprehensive plan to combat retail theft" throughout the boroughs, and man, they're really pulling out all the stops:
Establish two new diversion programs — "Second Chance" and Re-Engaging Store Theft Offenders and Retail Establishments (RESTORE) — to allow non-violent offenders to avoid prosecution or incarceration by meaningfully engaging with services to help address underlying factors that lead to shoplifting.
Install resource kiosks in stores to connect individuals in need to critical government resources and social services.
Launch an employee support program to train retail workers in de-escalation tactics, anti-theft tools, and security best practices to help keep them safe in the event of an emergency and to support employees who have been impacted by thefts.
Me reading this plan like:
Here's a brief rebuttal of each prong of this ridiculous proposal:
- Thieves aren't interested in "meaningfully engaging with services." They're thieves! Those services were already available to them when they decided to become thieves. They're not interested in that sort of thing. They want to steal stuff. They need to stop. Punish them for it and they will.
- It is hard to imagine a more laughably ineffective idea than offering crooks "resource kiosks." Are we really supposed to imagine that these guys are going to go into a Target prepared to boost $250 worth of merch, only to be stopped in their tracks as they see a cheap city computer terminal telling them how to meet with a case worker and get on food stamps? Like this is going to be the transformative moment in their lives? No: They'll stop stealing when the costs of doing so (prison, a criminal record) outweigh the benefits (stolen merchandise). Make that happen and your theft problem will plummet.
- "Training retail workers in de-escalation tactics" is a dodge. The mayor just doesn't want to boost police forces throughout the city; it's too politically unpalatable, the city's woke base would flip if he did so. Instead he wants to foist the responsibility of law enforcement off on employees of CVS. It's disgraceful. Apprehending criminals is the job of police; it's not the job of hourly workers to "de-escalate" them.