(LibertySociety.com) – Retail outlets have become increasingly dangerous workplaces in various locations throughout the United States. Shoplifting has risen by 45 percent since 2021, with around 63,000 reports filed in 2022. Retailers lost close to $100 billion in 2021, but lax store shoplifting policies and some cities’ refusal to prosecute have likely contributed to the massive uptick. Law enforcement statistics show a 275 percent increase in reports of shoplifting in the last decade and a half. Shoplifters are also becoming more violent, and multiple killings over the last several months have prompted calls for a crackdown on the epidemic.
CVS pharmacy store manager Michael Jacobs was killed on September 7 by a shoplifter who reportedly stole from the store frequently. Local news reports said that Jared Sevey was in the pharmacy arguing with Jacobs earlier in the day but returned later with a gun. When confessing to shooting Jacobs, Sevey said that he was “tired of being bullied” and that “this was the last straw.” Jacobs had worked at the pharmacy for over 20 years and leaves behind a wife and two children. He and his wife Stacy had enjoyed a 23-year marriage, which was tragically ended by a person who had no regard for human life. Family members launched a GoFundMe to raise money to pay for Jacobs’s funeral, along with future medical expenses his wife and kids may incur because of the tragedy.
Some retail outlets have recently begun locking up the most sought-after items in their stores, although this policy could lead to more confrontations with workers. Local lawmakers in New York City have demanded District Attorney Alvin Bragg prosecute shoplifters and require bail for repeat offenders. Bragg announced in June 2022 that he would be implementing deterrence policies for repeat offenders in hopes of curbing the act. The city has also adopted an initiative called the Merchant Business Improvement Program, which aims to stop repeat offenders by allowing owners to seek restraining orders against people who frequently steal from their stores and intimidate staff.
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