New York's retail theft problem is only growing worse and a new report confirmed we lose a sickening amount of money because of it.

Billions Lost Every Year

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A new report from Capital One Shopping found that shoplifting incidents increase by roughly 20 percent year-after-year. With the current trend, it's estimated American retailers will lose over $140 billion by the year 2025.

The majority of all retail theft, at 58 percent, is cargo theft and not people running into stores and snatching up items.  Another major drain on companies is fraudulent sales return, with retailers losing an estimated $84.9 billion in 2022 to this scheme alone.

Even worse, it's estimated only 2 percent of shoplifters are actually caught by stores and that the average shoplifter is popped by police one out of every 100 incidents.

It was also found that in 2020, the average shoplifter made off with $461.86 in goods.

Retail theft grew exponentially since the pandemic, with companies losing $61.7 billion in 2019. That number skyrocketed to $90.8 billion in 2020 and has since ballooned to at least $122 million in 2023 - which is about double what was lost in 2019.

Capital One also broke down the money lost on a state-by-state basis and New York's numbers were extremely frustrating.

New York Among States Most Impacted by Retail Theft

New York City was #4 on the list of cities most affected by retail crime. When comparing all 50 states who lost the most money, New York again was in fourth place.

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In all, the state lost $4.04 billion in 2022 alone. California was in first place with nearly $9 billion lost to retail theft in 2022 while Texas and Florida came in second and third place, respectively, with each losing roughly $5.5 billion.

When looking squarely at New York's statistics, here's what Capital One found:

  • New York retailers lost $280.72 in sales per capita in 2022.

  • Retail theft per capita in New York is 18.4% lower than the average among states.

  • Theft of $1,000 or more is a felony in New York.

  • Return fraud cost New York retailers an estimated $4.783 billion in sales revenue, bringing total lost sales revenue to $9.187 billion.

  • The State of New York lost out on $176 million in retail sales tax dollars due to theft.

  • New York sales tax dollars lost to return fraud totaled $191 million, bringing the total lost sales tax up to $367 million.

On the topic of combating crime, several lawmakers have proposed reducing the $1,000 threshold for felony charges by half.  Additionally, Governor Kathy Hochul unveiled in her proposed budget to pump $40 million to combat shoplifting, with more than half of the money going to police.

Lawmakers agree more needs to be done to dissuade criminals, but no concrete solution has been offered or approved of at this time.

More Retail Theft Statistics

Capital One found that nearly 10 percent of Americans have shoplifted, with those between the ages of 12 and 16 trying the five-finger discount.

Target To Close Stores In Several Cities Due To Theft And Violence
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Additionally, about 28.5 percent of all retail theft is conducted internally or by an employee. In fact, internal theft has risen by roughly 60 percent over the past 5 years.

When looking into organized retail crime data, it was found 40 percent of organized retail crime takes place at distribution centers and another 45 percent happens en route from the distribution center to the store.

Thirty eight percent of organized retail crime happens in-store while 35 percent happens en route from one store to another.

In all, slightly over 70 percent of retailers reported an increase in organized retail crime over the past 5 years.

When looking at return fraud, it's estimated states lost $4.73 billion in taxes to retail return fraud alone in 2022.

That all said, do you think retail theft will ever get under control?

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