Officials Push for Legislative Measures Against Retail Crime

3 min read

In a united front against the rising tide of repeat shoplifting, local officials convened a press conference at Colonie Center to announce their support for Senate Bill S.7599. This bipartisan bill seeks to bolster criminal penalties for repeat shoplifters by amending the penal law, specifically targeting those with a history of petit larceny convictions.

The proposed legislation, introduced by Senator Jake Ashby, aims to elevate charges against repeat theft offenders to grand larceny in the fourth degree. While petit larceny typically results in a misdemeanor charge, grand larceny in the fourth degree is categorized as a Class E felony. The proposed amendment would apply to individuals convicted of petit larceny twice within three months or three times within twelve months.

Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, sponsor of Assembly Bill No. 7882, expressed the intent behind the bipartisan effort, stating, “This bipartisan legislation takes a stand against repeat shoplifting, holding offenders accountable and emphasizing our dedication to preventing large-scale theft. It aims to safeguard businesses, create a safer retail environment, and ensure fair prices for law-abiding families, who often bear the brunt of increased costs due to criminal activity.”

Senator Ashby echoed the sentiment, emphasizing the need for decisive action to address the issue of repeat offenders. In addition to S.7599, Senator Ashby sponsors another legislative proposal, S.5973, which seeks to empower jurists to remand dangerous repeat offenders after arraignment. He expressed concern about the impact of shoplifting on retailers, noting, “When retailers are forced to lock up their products because our society can’t lock up serial offenders, it should be obvious that something is very wrong.”

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The proposed legislation comes at a time when retailers are grappling with the consequences of repeat shoplifting, prompting them to take measures such as locking up products to curb theft. While Governor Kathy Hochul has proposed tax credits for businesses to enhance their security, Senator Ashby argues that more comprehensive measures are needed.

“Every small business in the state already pays taxes that should be funding a fair, effective criminal justice system that protects its people and deters criminals. I will always be for providing the New York State Police with the resources they need to do their jobs, but I think it’s worth considering that it doesn’t cost a dime to fix these laws, empower our police officers, and tilt the balance away from career criminals and back toward our law-abiding constituents,” emphasized Senator Ashby.

The proposed legislative amendments signal a concerted effort to address the challenges faced by retailers and businesses dealing with the repercussions of repeat shoplifting. As the bipartisan bill gains traction, local officials are optimistic that these measures will not only hold repeat offenders accountable but also contribute to creating a safer and more secure retail environment for both businesses and consumers alike. The proposed changes underscore a commitment to fostering a fair and effective criminal justice system that aligns with the needs of law-abiding citizens and businesses in the state.

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