CVS Pharmacy at the H Street Northeast location is now using framed photographs of toilet papers and kitchen towels to stand in place of the real products. Customers must also press a button to request that staff retrieve the items from storage. Another CVS store in the Columbia Heights neighborhood keeps multiple items behind locked cages, while the aisles, otherwise bare due to missing products, have been marred by profane graffiti.
According to the latest data from the Metropolitan Police Department, cases of theft increased by 21 percent, with 10,673 reported incidents in 2023, while motor vehicle theft experienced a 101 percent increase compared to 2022. Meanwhile, reported violent crimes have surged by 41 percent, homicides by 33 percent and robberies by 70 percent compared to the previous year. In short, rampant crimes in Washington, D.C. have reached crisis levels.
As a result, CapitalOne Research estimated that stores lost $86.6 billion to retail theft in 2022, with a projection that this figure could exceed $155 billion by 2025. UBS analysts have also predicted that at least 50,000 shops will close in the U.S. over the next five years due to the surge in theft coupled with the shift toward online shopping.
True enough, the prediction is already happening. CVS announced its plan to close 900 of its stores across the U.S. to focus on its online market. Its loss due to rampant shoplifting and other retail crimes is costing the industry $112 billion annually, according to the National Retail Federation.
Washington, D.C. mayor proposes the ACT Now bill
Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington, D.C. has proposed new legislation to roll back many of the soft-on-crime reforms that the city had adopted in response to the death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests.
"I think they were well-intentioned, and all of us following the murder of George Floyd wanted to make sure we were doing everything possible to ensure safe and constitutional police reform. But I think some of the reforms have made our communities less safe," Bowser said.
The legislation, known as the Addressing Crime Trends Now (ACT Now) bill, is designed to amend the Comprehensive Policing and Justice Amendment Act. However, the ACT Now bill not only aims to reverse progressive reforms but also addresses organized retail thefts and open-air drug markets in the city.
"We need to act now, and we need to send the strong message that violence is not acceptable in our city, and this perception that you can commit a brazen crime and get away with it has got to stop. This legislation will change that," Bowser said.
For instance, the ACT Now bill seeks to limit the disclosure of information about officer disciplinary actions to the public, clarify the definition of chokehold, allow police officers to view body-worn camera footage before writing reports, specify use-of-force incidents and amend restrictions on vehicular pursuits.
The bill also aims to illegalize 16-year-olds and older from wearing masks in public and during demonstrations; establish felony charges for shoplifters with more than $1,000 worth of merchandise or stealing 10 or more items valued at least $250 within 30 days; impose first-degree penalties for fencing stolen goods or engaging in return fraud; and create a new crime for organized retail theft, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Read up on more instances of criminal behavior in the U.S. at Anarchy.news.