According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, retail crime costs businesses in Pennsylvania over $7.7 billion in lost product costs, higher insurance, increased price of goods, and unrealized wages and accounts for over $1.2 billion in lost tax revenue to the state and local governments.
However, this is hardly unique to Pennsylvania. As the U.S. Chamber writes in its latest blog post, “Communities and businesses large and small across the United States are struggling to stay afloat amid a historic wave of retail crime.” The effects of these crimes can have devastating consequences. The U.S. Chamber continues, “Retail crime creates higher prices for consumers, results in stores having to close their doors, and communities left without vital goods and services.”
Fortunately, state legislation sponsored by Sen. Dave Argall (R-Schuylkill) to create a special retail crime division within the Attorney General’s office was signed into law at the end of 2023. The PA Chamber proudly supported this important bill to protect business owners and deter criminal activity.
In addition to establishing the Office of Organized Retail Crime Theft, Act 42 of 2023 also lowers the existing thresholds for felony offenses. The threshold for a third-degree felony was cut in half, from $5,000 to $2,500 of goods in possession of a retail theft organization, while the threshold for a second-degree felony was also cut in half, from $20,000 to $10,000. A new first-degree felony offense was also established for a retail theft organization in possession of more than $50,000 in goods.
The U.S. Chamber cites the passage of Act 42 as an encouraging sign of progress against the nationwide scourge of retail crime and lays out three additional steps that can be taken to combat retail crime in 2024. To read the full post from the U.S. Chamber, please click here.