New York retailers have lost $4.4 billion to organized shoplifting

Store owners are frustrated with Gov. Kathy Hochul's decision to veto a bipartisan bill that would have created a task force to combat theft.

New York retailers are frustrated with Governor Kathy Hochul's decision to veto a bipartisan bill that would have created a working group to combat organized theft. Store owners explained that the governor's decision comes at a time when retailers have lost at least $4.4 billion from theft.

"Retailers throughout the state are extremely disappointed to learn that Governor Hochul vetoed a bipartisan bill that would have established the New York State Organized Retail Crime Task Force. Stores that invest in New York communities lose $4.4 billion to retail theft, and this illegal activity certainly has community safety implications," said Melissa O'Connor, President and CEO of the Retail Council of New York State, in a statement.

Likewise, O'Connor claimed that the situation requires "interagency coordination and consistent communication among all stakeholders, including the retail industry."

"Hold crime groups in New York accountable"

She stated that she is meeting with different legislators to reach a solution. "On behalf of the largest private sector employer in the economy, the Retail Council of New York State continues to meet with lawmakers, prosecutors and law enforcement to hold organized retail crime syndicates and repeat shoplifters accountable."

I spoke with Governor Hochul at length to discuss the need for immediate action and an effective, collaborative response to this problem. She made it abundantly clear that retail theft prevention will be a priority for her administration, and we look forward to working with her to achieve results.

The Democratic governor rejected the proposal to create the task force, according to the New York Post, due to the cost it would require from the state. A spokesperson for the governor who spoke with the media explained that the proposal would have cost the state $35 million, an expense that was not allocated in the most recent budget.

According to the New York Post, "Hochul rejected a proposal that would have created a 15-member panel made up of experts appointed by the governor, Legislature and the state attorney general that would have put together a list of recommendations to respond to retail theft."