Friday, June 21, 2024
HomeOpinionSave bodega workers! Albany must crack down on retail theft

Save bodega workers! Albany must crack down on retail theft


Your local bodega, and the people who work there, desperately need help.

State lawmakers have four weeks left before they’re due to go home for the year.

That leaves plenty of time to do more criminal-justice fixes — including getting serious about retail theft.

Shoplifting with impunity is killing the city’s bodegas, drugstores, and other small shops (except the illegal pot shops, sigh), and plaguing higher-end biz as well.

It’s also endangering the people who earn their living in retail.

Perps regularly threaten workers who move to stop them, pulling knives and clubs and beating up cashiers and clerks.

Weeks ago, state Sen. Jessica Scarcella-Spanton (D-SI) and Assemblyman Manny De Los Santos (D-Inwood) introduced a bill to make assaulting retail workers a felony, bail-eligible offense — giving them the same protection as transit employees, EMTs, cops, firefighters, and other “frontline” workers.


Shoplifting in NYC bodegas, drugstores, and other small shops is increasing, according to reports.
Tomas E. Gaston

Jessica Scarcella-Spanton.
NY Sen. Jessica Scarcella-Spanton (pictured) and Assemblyman Manny De Los Santos introduced a bill to make assaulting retail workers a felony, bail-eligible offense.
New York State

Another bill, intro’d Feb. 8 by state Sen. Kevin Thomas (D-LI) and Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (D-Bx), would elevate petit larceny from a misdemeanor to a felony if committed within two years of a prior conviction.

Repeat DUIs have already been similarly “upgraded.”

Pushing both measures is Collective Action to Protect Our Stores, which issued fresh alarms last week after the Legislature declined to pass either along with the new budget.

Its chief, Nelson Eusebio, begged last week, “Our stores cannot continue like this. We are part of your community. We need you to support us. Albany please wake up!”

The group reps thousands of independent grocers, whose workers are often immigrants and minorities.

These are not NYC’s privileged, but they can’t get the Legislature’s leaders to listen.

Today The Post presents an appeal by Nallely De Jesus, the owner of Associated Supermarkets in The Bronx.

She notes that we all understand these were essential workers during the pandemic — and that they’re just as essential now.

Except that the plague they face is only getting worse, as retail theft continues to rise.

This, though “shoplifting is vastly underreported” since “merchants have made approximately 63,000 complaints — most going unresolved.”

CAPOS is also hoping that DAs make greater use of the “Harm on Harm” tool to get tougher on serial offenders, since “327 offenders accounted for 30% of New York City’s 22,000 retail theft arrests in 2022,” while “recidivists were arrested almost 6,600 times, for an average of 20 times each.”

But prosecutors are already overstretched, along with the NYPD.

Stronger state laws are plainly needed, too — and legislators have only a month to deliver.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bx) and state Senate leaders Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-W’chester) and Mike Gianaris (D-Queens) have so far deigned to deliver only trivial fixes to their botched criminal-justice reforms. Gov. Kathy Hochul says she’s done with such issues for the year.

That’s not good enough. Pass these common-sense measures to protect humble frontline workers now.



This story originally appeared on NYPost

RELATED ARTICLES
- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Recent Comments