The NYPD will preserve a listing of the town’s most persistent thieves to curb rampant shoplifting within the Big Apple, Mayor Eric Adams stated Wednesday as the town unveiled its long-awaited metropolis retail theft technique plan.
The Precision Repeat Offender Program, or PROP, is considered one of a sequence of proposals specified by the 33-page “Combating Retail Theft” report launched Wednesday — months after Adams convened a Gracie Mansion summit on the problem last year and promised to search out options.
The report focuses on intervention applications for first-time shoplifters and would-be offenders whereas additionally focusing on the serial retail thieves answerable for most heists.
Among the initiatives pitched within the report:
- The metropolis will launch a pair of early intervention applications to present first-time offenders an opportunity to keep away from prosecution and permit convicted crooks to dodge jail by enrolling in community-based assist providers.
- Bodegas and smaller retailers may get kiosks to place potential shoplifters in contact with providers like meals stamps, jobs, psychological well being remedy and housing assist. Merchants “are sometimes conscious of early warning alerts,” the report stated.
- Retail staff who’re victims of crime or may very well be in hurt’s means can get coaching in battle decision or de-escalation techniques and get entry to victims’ providers.
Despite the brand new applications, officers concede that there’s nonetheless one impediment in the best way — lenient state legal guidelines that bar native prosecutors from locking up profession crooks.
“I consider that to ensure that any kind of substantive impression, any kind of such an impression regarding the retail steps must come from the legislature,” stated state Assemblyman Michael Tannousis. R-Staten Island.
“It must enable judges to have the ability to set bail on repeat offenders and improve their discretion,” he stated. “And any kind of plan that the mayor places forth, though it could be well-intentioned, goes to be at a major drawback as a result of our judges do not need the discretion to have the ability to set bail, or detain somebody that constantly commits a lot of these crimes.”
Retail thefts in New York City have spiked by 77% over the previous 5 years, and have dipped solely barely to date this yr regardless of extra cops on the retail beat and prosecutors extra targeted on the problem.
According to NYPD stats, there have been 13,738 reported retail thefts by means of the top of March this yr, down only a tick from the 14,790 over the identical span in 2022.
NYPD Chief of Crime Control Strategies Michael Lipetri stated repeat offenders are driving the numbers.
“Of the arrests this yr of retail theft, 70% of arrestees this yr have been arrested for prior shoplifting complaints,” Lipetri stated. “We have people which have been arrested over 30 occasions simply this yr focusing on the identical companies.”
In December, Adams held a retail theft summit with metropolis retailers, neighborhood teams and regulation enforcement to hash out a technique on retail thefts — though the mayor himself skipped out after 20 minutes.
Despite the initiatives and rhetoric at a press convention asserting the report on Wednesday, Adams didn’t search funding for any of the retail theft applications earlier than the state’s $229 billion finances was finalized — leaving some critics to query whether or not metropolis officers are critical about tackling the problem.
“I don’t suppose they need to take care of it,” Brooklyn Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny advised The Post. “They are all afraid of the progressives.”
Meanwhile, Nelson Eusabio of the Collective Action to Protect Our Stores thanked Adams and different officers for serving to to compile the report — however stated there must be extra.
“Now it’s as much as legislators in Albany to complete the job and go payments that can shield retail staff in order that we are able to work in peace,” Eusabio stated.
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