Back in the tumultuous summer of 2020, rioting was shockingly widely excused within Democrat-Left political circles — to the point that Joe Biden indulged “defund the police” toxicity, and Kamala Harris encouraged her supporters to contribute to a radical bail fund for criminals. A prominent news editor was forced out of his post by a howling mob for allowing a headline that critiqued property destruction.
Terrible, lasting, destructive pro-criminal policies were enacted, in the name of “progress” and “equity.” We were even lectured by “experts” not to accurately describe the criminal activity exploding across the country. Our society is still grappling with the consequences more than three years later.
One of the fashionable justifications for rioting and looting was that large companies held insurance policies, so such crimes were, essentially, victimless. This was always dangerous ignorance. It fueled lawlessness that has resulted in immense harm and even deaths. Many small businesses could not, and still cannot, weather crime sprees. Blathering about insurance doesn’t save a family-owned store teetering on the brink, as neighborhood safety deteriorates. Even large corporations can only withstand so much, hence the exodus of businesses from decaying urban center and the shuttering of franchises by enormous companies like Starbucks (which has faced other woke comeuppance), McDonald’s, Whole Foods, and other major chains.
When, say, a Walgreens location is closed down due to crime and deteriorating conditions, “insurance” doesn’t fix that. It doesn’t magically provide new jobs for the displaced employees. It doesn’t suddenly furnish local senior citizens with convenient local options to pick up necessary prescription medication. It doesn’t patch up a community that’s slowly, or rapidly, circling the drain. These are very real costs, for real people. And the wages of such reckless policies continue to pile up across America’s major cities — the vast majority of which operate under one-party rule. The damage continues:
CVS is set to close hundreds of stores across the country as it undergoes a complete retail overhaul – as more outlets move towards online sellers amid rampant increases in crime. The major drugstore chain is coming to the end of a policy launched in 2021 which will see 300 stores closed each year – meaning 900 will have shuttered by 2024. In the announcement, which has hit headlines again recently amid rampant shoplifting at the chain, bosses they said that they were undergoing a new ‘retail footprint strategy.’ …Thousands of stores across the US have been forced to lock up basic products like toothpaste and deodorant following a spike in shoplifting…Stores catch shoplifters roughly 2 percent of the time, with the average shoplifter being arrested once out of every 100 incidents…Rival pharmacies are making similar moves to close their doors, with Rite Aid and Walgreens also closing stores. Rite Aid announced it would close two more stores earlier this month, following the closure of 25 stores earlier this year, amid reports the company is preparing to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
These decisions aren’t entirely about crime; other pressure-building trends are also in the mix. But consequence-free lawlessness plunges a dagger into any hopes of keeping many of these brick and mortar stores open. Companies can’t make a profit and can’t keep employees safe. Another new example:
TARGET STORE CLOSURES: Target announced it is closing nine stores in four U.S. states because of mounting thefts and organized retail crime threatening the safety of its workers and shoppers. pic.twitter.com/lmaIgJglvy
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) September 26, 2023
Target put itself in some consumers’ crosshairs by wading into certain controversial culture war matters, reaping negative impacts from resulting boycotts. Throw in “mounting thefts and organized retail crime,” and it’s literally lights out for multiple locations, and potential unemployment for dozens or hundreds of people — including those who can’t afford to commute to other retail locations further away. The great hollowing out continues:
Target will close nine store in four states, including one in East Harlem, New York and three in the San Francisco Bay Area, saying that theft and organized retail crime have threatened the safety of its workers and customers. The closings, which will be effective Oct. 21, also include three stores in Portland, Oregon, and two in Seattle…Target described the decision as “difficult.” “We know that our stores serve an important role in their communities, but we can only be successful if the working and shopping environment is safe for all,” Target said in a statement on Tuesday.
New York City, the Bay Area, Portland, and Seattle. What a surprise. We’ve seen similar movement in Chicago, who’s soft-on-crime leaders then have the gall to complain about the “food deserts” being created by their own failed policies (with the mayor now suggesting a guaranteed-to-fail communist “solution” out of desperation). “They have insurance” doesn’t cut it, and it can’t make up for gaping holes in business models that are this large. The words “only modestly” are doing a lot of work in this report:
Retail executives over the past year have talked a lot about “shrink” — or the losses they take due to theft, fraud or employee error — amid a flood of headlines about sometimes violent organized thefts at stores. But results from a retail-industry survey released Tuesday found the metric rose only modestly last year. The report from the National Retail Federation, a retail industry group, found that the average shrink rate in 2022 crept higher to 1.6% from 1.4% in the prior year, when calculated as a share of sales. The figure from 2022 is in line with those seen in 2020 and 2019. Still, the losses amounted to billions of dollars — $112.1 billion, up from $93.9 billion in 2021 — according to the report. And the report said that retailers were increasingly concerned about the violence of those crimes.
The costs of “shrink” aren’t just absorbed. They’re passed down to consumers, which is the last thing consumers need in an age of sky-high, inflation-fueled prices. Either that, or stores disappear altogether. Call it a Democratic policy two-fer. I’ll leave you with a disturbing benchmark out of Democrat-dominated Washington, DC, where the city council leader denied the existence of a crime crisis earlier this year. This is the reality in our nation’s capital city, where violent crime is up 37 percent over crime-riddled 2022:
It appears that DC has now reached the grim milestone of 200 murders this year, as indicated by police scanner traffic reported by @alanhenney. We stood at 199 this morning.
DC hit 200 murders on 12/29 last year. It’s been 20+ years since a 200th murder occurred before October. pic.twitter.com/vgAT85Svg9
— Chuck Thies (@ChuckThies) September 26, 2023