A retail and grocery store owners’ group demands that New York City’s five district attorneys create new units within their offices to specifically focus on shoplifting — and according to a spokesman for the group, two DAs have agreed to hear them out.
Collective Action to Protect our Stores has set up meetings with both Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg and Staten Island DA Michael McMahon to press them on the issue, said Nelson Eusabio, a former president of the National Supermarket Association, a founding member of CAPS.
“With a 22% rise in burglaries and robberies, we need New York’s leaders to step up to protect workers from being assaulted, stores from being robbed, and customers who are scared to shop,” said Eusabio.
“That’s why the coalition has asked for New York City’s five district attorneys to create special retail theft units, and we look forward to discussing this with each of them in person.”
Mayor Adams earlier this week lauded members of the Fordham Road Business District in the Bronx for hiring private security guards, calling it “a wise strategy” in the face of shoplifting.
He also vowed that the will do more to address an uptick in thefts, as well as the recidivism he believes is driving it.
“We had a summit two weeks ago with all of our major chains to look at the repeated grand larcenies and larcenies that are taking place in stores, and we’re going to come out with a major initiative in that place,” Adams said Wednesday on MSNBC.
“People must feel safe and we must make sure that businesses are safe in the city, and that’s what the NYPD is doing. But we have a real problem with recidivism in the city.”
James Clinton, a spokesman for the Staten Island DA, confirmed that the McMahon’s office will meet with CAPS in early February, and McMahon appears receptive to their proposal.
“All New Yorkers deserve to shop without having basic goods kept away under lock and key,” said McMahon, who added that he “wholeheartedly” supports the coalition’s message. “They deserve our total support as they survive in a sea of lawlessness.”
A spokesman for the Manhattan DA’s Office also expressed openness to hearing out the coalition.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our communities and shoplifting can seriously hurt their bottom line,” the spokesman said. “Through our Small Business Alliance we are working with local shop owners on the most effective strategies to address this issue and look forward to collaborating with Collective Action to Protect our Stores.”
The CAPS coalition is comprised of several retail and grocery industry groups and represents hundreds of stores throughout the five boroughs.
The coalition’s founders include the National Supermarket Association, the Bodega and Small Business Group and the Metro Supermarket Association. Last week, several other groups joined, including the Yemeni American Merchants Association, the Food Industry Alliance and the state Latino Restaurant, Bar and Lounge Association.
Along with their request of the DA’s offices, the group is also calling on the NYPD to create its own unit dedicated to retail theft and for lawmakers to give prosecutors the ability to escalate charges for repeat theft offenders.
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