LP Magazine

MAY-JUN 2018

LP magazine publishes articles for loss prevention, asset protection, and retail professionals covering shrinkage, investigations, shoplifting, internal theft, fraud, technology, best practices, and career development.

Issue link: http://digital.lpportal.com/i/978254

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importantly, has created an influx of recidivist offenders that are more brazen and, in many cases, more hostile to store employees who are trying to deter their criminal activity," said Langhorst. "Since 2014, we have seen a significant increase in both incidents and in the value of cases as it became known that no matter how many times you're caught—so long as you stay under $950—you'll get a citation to show up in court," added Moreno. The experts talked about the phenomenon of decriminalizing shoplifting with more and more offenders seeing this crime as low risk and high reward. Moreno compared the punishment for these newly established misdemeanor offenses to "a slap on the wrist." Williams highlighted the fact that there's even been a shift in shoplifting offender types, with gangs getting more and more engaged in retail theft because they realize that the penalty is now significantly lower. Finally, Naiman provided his prosecutor's perspective and stated, "Since Prop 47 was voted into law in 2014, more than 13,500 prisoners were released to the streets, and another 200,000 felony convictions were retroactively made misdemeanors. The real question is whether or not this is a net positive or an extreme negative for the community. And the bottom line is that there are clearly people who should be in jail and are now out." A lot of very strong and concerning statements were made throughout the podcast, and they echo comments of many retailers with stores in the area. It is evident that all panelists share serious concerns about the potential negative effects of Proposition 47, including upward crime trends and changes in criminal behavior, as well as criminals' perceptions of the penal system. Let's shift to results of the LAPD crime analysis to see what is in the data. Shoplifting Trends in Los Angeles The shoplifting category provided by LAPD is divided into two groups: shoplifting-grand theft ($950.01 and over) and shoplifting-petty theft ($950.00 and under). This breakdown corresponds to the misdemeanor dividing line adopted by Proposition 47 and should be helpful for putting the trends into the perspective of this controversial measure. As is clearly evident in the graphs on page 53, both grand theft and petty theft shoplifting have gone up at Los Angeles retail locations in the past few years. Both are relatively flat from 2011 to 2013, followed by large increases through 2016 when the numbers either leveled off or decreased. While both types of shoplifting have increased over the last few years, the magnitude of these changes differs for the two. Grand theft shoplifting went up by 64.3 percent in 2014 versus 2013 and then by another 54.5 percent in 2015 versus 2014. Petty theft, on the other hand, increased by 25.3 percent in 2014 and by 26.4 percent in 2015 when compared to the previous years. Clearly, grand theft increases were more substantial than those for petty theft. A similar assessment was conducted for individual retail segments included within the aggregate retail category. The vast majority of them show upward trends in both grand theft and petty theft shoplifting that follow patterns similar to those reported above. However, there are several categories that differ. For instance, while petty theft shows a drop in 2017 for the aggregate retail group, several retail segments, including cell phone stores, gas stations, liquor stores, and mini-mart locations, RETAIL CRIME IN LOS ANGELES Some of the comments made during the aforementioned podcast touched on the fact that retail criminals are getting more confrontational and violent. Aggravated Assault Other Assault 129 130 111 142 240 268 317 400 300 200 100 0 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 663 671 684 807 939 973 1,167 1200 900 600 300 0 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 Aaron Moreno Loren Naiman Bill Williams 54 MAY–JUNE 2018 | LOSSPREVENTIONMEDIA.COM

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