BY Jack Davis, The Western JournalFebruary 23, 2023
1 year ago

Desperate NYC Stores Turn to Surprising New Tactic in Attempt to Stop Rampant Theft: Dogs

In deep-blue New York City, where retail theft is out of control, some stores are trying a new tactic to take a bite out of crime -- and perhaps a criminal or two along the way.

A group of retailers called the 34th Street Partnership, which includes areas such as Macy’s Herald Square, Penn Station, and Madison Square Garden, has hired K-9 units to patrol stores, the New York Post reported Wednesday.

“We’ve had a lot of complaints. A lot of shoplifting occurs in drugstores. We’re trying to address the issue,” said Kevin Ward, vice president of security for the 34th Street Partnership.

The cost of the program, Ward said, is in the “low five figures monthly.”

“We decided to have a very visible deterrent,” he said.

“It’s effective so far. We’ve had a couple of people who were known shoplifters who saw the dog and walked out without stealing anything," he said.

Ward said the city and the police need to step up as well.

“Times Square has a dedicated foot patrol. Penn Station doesn’t. The city needs a dedicated foot patrol in Penn Station similar to Times Square. Overall crime in the district is up over 100 percent over two years. There is a correlation with staffing,” he said.

Crime has been rising. In 2019, complaints of shoplifting, larcenies and robberies hit 37,838, according to the Post. By 2021, that rose to 43,675.

Last year, complaints hit a new high of 63,699.

“This data confirms what store workers and owners have been feeling every day: Retail theft is at a crisis level in New York City,” a representative of the Collective Action to Protect Our Stores said.

“Every day, our workers are being assaulted and stores robbed all while customers are placed in danger; we need the state and city to step up,” the representative said.

Chris Hermann, a former New York Police Department officer who is now an assistant professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan, said that is not likely, according to the Post.

[firefly_poll]

“There’s no quick fix to something like this. Many stores just rely on the police for their issues, and that’s not realistic nowadays,” Hermann said.

That’s been bad news for Louis Weissbart, owner of Modern State party supplies store, who says he faces theft daily.

“The last few years have been as bad as the [Mayor David] Dinkins era,” he said, according to the Post. “It got bad under [Mayor Bill] de Blasio, and it’s not getting better [under current Mayor Eric Adams]."

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

Written by: Jack Davis, The Western Journal

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