Shoplifting continues to plague merchants around the country and here in Albuquerque. It’s even led to the enactment of new retail crime laws.
According to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention, over $13 billion of retail products are stolen yearly in the U.S. That’s an estimated 550,000 counts of shoplifting per day.
Just in the last month, nearly 700 larceny/shoplifting incidents were reported to the Albuquerque Police Department. Crimemapping.com’s crime map shows over 100 instances reported to APD in the last week alone.
The local crime map shows shoplifting happens everywhere but is concentrated in the popular shopping areas.One shop that has had its share of larceny incidents is Ultra Beauty, a popular salon and makeup store in Albuquerque’s Northeast Heights.
“Shoplifters come in to the store often, like once or twice a week,” said Ultra Beauty employee Jessica King. It’s upsetting and it gets on my nerves.” King says its the higher end products — prestige brands — that seems to walk out of the store the fastest.
“You’re trying to run a store and people think they can come in and take something and leave,” King said. “Some people don’t even hide it.”
Fellow employee Khristah Garcia says she’s seen people steal merchandise worth $400-$500, which raises safety issues.
“When people steal, it makes me feel unhappy and sometimes scared,” Garcia said. “If people are already stealing, you don’t know what they are going to do next.“
Ulta Beauty has taken security measures. A security guard roams the building and surrounding areas throughout the day.
The New Mexico Department of Public Safety’s Uniform Crime Rate report for 2017 states that over 13,200 larceny-theft instances were reported statewide from January to June. Larceny includes shoplifting.
According to the National Retail Federation, New Mexico is one of the states to enact a new organized retail crime law, as of last year. Over 180,000 jobs consist of retail positions in the state of New Mexico, bringing in over $7 million in gross domestic product.
The state legislation is comprised of various laws depending on the pricing amount of what is stolen over a sixty day period. If the market value of what is stolen is $250 or less, a petty misdemeanor has occurred. If the market value is over $20,000, a second degree felony has occurred. Amounts in between range from a misdemeanor to a third and fourth degree felony.
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