New York Launches Task Force to Fight Retail Theft

New York City is taking aim at retail crime.

On Wednesday, New York City Mayor Eric Adams launched a task force to support implementation of his plan to combat retail theft across the city. The task force will be led by Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Philip Banks 3rd, with New York Attorney General Letitia James, all five of the city’s district attorneys, and representatives from law enforcement, local business groups, national retailers and organized labor.

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Gap Inc., LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Macy’s Inc., Target Corp., Ulta Beauty, Victoria’s Secret and more retailers are involved, as well as the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union and business improvement district throughout the five boroughs.

The task force is meant to advise the Adams administration on legislative proposals aimed at addressing retail theft, work to identify and respond to shoplifting trends and crime patterns, and use the best available technology to deter, prevent and respond to retail theft effectively.

“New York City’s retailers are the heart and soul of our city, and retail theft hurts everyone, from our mom-and-pop shops to large department stores — and especially consumers,” said Adams. “Because of the collaborative actions taken in the last few months between government, the private sector, law enforcement, and, most importantly, local businesses, retail theft is down this year, but there is always more work to do. I am proud to convene this group of experts and practitioners as we continue to take a 360-degree approach to combatting retail theft and curbing this serious issue that plagues cities across the country. Together, we recognize the importance of safeguarding our businesses, protecting jobs, and ensuring a safer and more vibrant city for all who live in, work in, and visit our great city.”

With the exception of 2020, the total number of citywide shoplifting complaints increased year-over-year between 2018 and 2022, with the largest increase — 44 percent — taking place from 2021 to 2022. However, year-to-date in 2023, shoplifting complaints are down 7.9 percent citywide as compared to last year and arrests for shoplifting increased 16.4 percent year-to-date.

At the end of 2022, Adams convened a summit with more than 70 concerned parties to discuss potential solutions to retail theft in the city.

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