New York City has seen the highest spike in shoplifting in the four years through June, a surge of 64%, the most of any U.S. city, the New York Post reports.

That’s followed by a 61% increase in Los Angeles in the period from January 2019 through June 2023; 44% in Virginia Beach, Virginia; 20% in Dallas; 19% in Raleigh, North Carolina; 12% in Boston; and 8% in Pittsburgh, according to data from the Council on Criminal Justice.

Shoplifting in New York decreased by 8% in the first half of 2023, however.

“Shoplifting, especially ‘smash and grab’ episodes caught on video, has received extensive attention from the media and policymakers, and retailers have cited theft concerns in closing stores and placing goods in locked cases,” says Ernesto Lopez, co-author of the report.

The Council says it’s not clear whether the rise in shoplifting is due to an increase in theft, increased reporting to police — or a combination of both.

Lenient bail reform, namely no cash bail for misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies, may be the reason for the alarming spike in reported shoplifting, the authors concede.

Big box chains lost $112 billion due to organized theft in 2022, up from $93.9 billion the year before, according to the National Retail Federation.

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