Stores are using facial recognition to help stop repeat shoplifters

NYC is seeing record high numbers of shoplifting. 

Data from the NYPD shows there were more than 63,000 retail thefts reported last year up 97% from 2020.

The crime is affecting the bottom line of many business owners who are now taking on the task of fighting crime on their own.

The Fairway market on the corner of Broadway and West 74th street on the Upper Westside is resorting to technology to help them catch the thieves, it is now using facial recognition.

 It says retail theft and shoplifting has a high rate of repeat offense and drives up grocery costs for all customers, telling Fox 5, "This technology is helping our stores reduce retail crime, an industry-wide challenge that has increased dramatically over the last few years. 

Only trained asset protection associates use the system, which helps us focus attention on repeat shoplifters. 

We follow all applicable laws, including posting signage to make shoppers aware of the use of biometric software. Retail theft and shoplifting has a high rate of repeat offense and drives up grocery costs for all customers. 

We have found that this technology -- used thoughtfully and in combination with other measures we take to reduce theft – is helping prevent more crime in store."

According to the New York post the software is collecting customers’ personal information — such as eye scans and voiceprints.

Customers we spoke with had mixed feeling. Some were all for the use of facial recognition, while one woman said she’s concern about who is collecting the information and what is being done with it, but Christopher  Herrmann, an associate professor in the department of Law and Science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice says customers should not be worry. 

"Don't worry about this, you're being recorded all the time, whether it's out in public, on the streets. There are plenty of cameras now. Whenever you go to the ATM, there's a camera," he said. "The only difference now is that they're starting to put those recordings together. They're starting to take those images and put them in a database. And they're starting to be able to compare those images to people that are coming in the store now. So if the shoplifter is kind of red flagged, you know, when they come in the store, they'll get a notification that, hey, the person that shoplifted last week is back in the store, and that gives the store owner the opportunity to identify that person and escort them to the exit."