Adams unveils plan to tackle NYC shoplifting

Shoplifting has become a crisis in New York City, with recent numbers showing a 44 percent jump in incidents in 2022.

Mayor Adams says repeat offenders were behind a third of those thefts last year, and now he is rolling out a new plan to tackle the issue.

"250 people in 2023 have been arrested almost 2500 times, again, that's 30 percent," said Michael Lepetri, the NYPD's Chief of Crime Control Strategies. "Who are these people: 52 percent are convicted felons."

The new crackdown includes giving first-time offenders intervention programs instead of prosecution, de-escalation training for retail employees, establishing neighborhood retail watch groups to share information about a theft in real-time with one another and the police, and installing kiosks in stores to connect would-be thieves with social service programs.

But the crackdown isn't pleasing everyone.

"So when people come in that were just about to steal, they won't because they realize that stealing is a source of a different problem for them. So they're going to use the kiosk to access social services. I'm sorry, but that's just a pipe dream," said Ralph Cilento, a retired NYPD Lieutenant Commander of Detectives and currently an adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal College. "And that is he's doing that specifically to satisfy his liberal base, which I understand he has to do."

According to Cilento, there is one deterrent to crime.

"Shoplifters need to be caught and prosecuted," he said. "That’s the end game." 

City Hall came up with this plan after the Mayor held a summit last December that included small business representatives, large retail groups, law enforcement, and union leaders