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Violence associated with property theft, shoplifting increasing, experts say

Fairfield Township Walmart shooting police
Posted at 7:40 PM, May 27, 2022

CINCINNATI — Experts say the violence associated with these shoplifting and theft crimes is escalating exponentially, with innocent people losing their lives over merchandise.

Adam Black a bystander at a Fairfield Township Walmart was shot and killed Thursday by Anthony Brown, who was accused of shoplifting.

Captain Doug Lanier with Fairfield Township Police said it’s not worth it to intervene.

"Especially when it comes to property. We measure things based on someone getting hurt,” Lanier said. “An individual upon themself has to measure what they're willing to do, and for property it's just not worth it."

Retail theft has evolved though.

Lisa Labruno, Senior Executive VP of retail operations with the Retail Industry Leaders Association, said it is no longer just a property crime like it used to be.

Retail theft is happening more frequently, as is the quantity of products being stolen daily, with losses exceeding $68 billion dollars a year in retail in the United States. But even more importantly, it’s getting more violent.

"It's getting more brazen, it's getting more violent, and you know that it’s caused in part by the lack of accountability that these criminal actors are being held to," Labruno said.

Labruno said many shoplifters feel it's a high reward, low risk crime because there's a lack of accountability. Online marketplaces are another contributor due to the anonymity in which criminal actors can sell stolen product.

"To see more and more theft, and more and more violence. Honest people are getting more and more frustrated and wanting to do something about it,” Labruno said. “And while we can appreciate the emotional investment in wanting to help stop it, it's just become too unsafe."

Labruno said she's at a loss of words over what our communities are going through.

"This violence has got to stop,” she said. “We have got to unite and figure out ways to work together.”

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