Governor Hochul’s FY25 Executive Budget Proposes $45 Million to Fight Retail Theft and Property Crime; Would Create New Joint Operation to Fight Retail Theft

Joint Operation Will Utilize Tools and Strategies New York Has Utilized to Fight Illegal Guns; Shootings and Murders Have Declined Significantly Since 2021

February 14, 2024

Governor Kathy Hochul today highlighted her groundbreaking State of the State proposal to fight retail theft, as larceny offenses continue to rise, especially in New York City. This initiative would utilize proven crime-fighting strategies that have been used to drive down violent crime and gun offenses since Governor Hochul took office in 2021. Governor Hochul made the announcement after attending the 600th daily meeting of the Gun Violence Strategies Partnership, a joint effort between federal, State and local law enforcement, this morning in lower Manhattan.

“Public safety is my top priority, and I won’t rest until every New Yorker feels safe on our streets, subways and storefronts,” Governor Hochul said. “Over the past three years we’ve made incredible progress on driving down violent crime and fighting the scourge of gun violence. Now, we’re using those same strategies to take on the quality-of-life issues like retail theft and property crime.”

Governor Hochul’s Executive Budget includes a plan to fight retail theft and property crime, including by launching a Retail Theft Joint Operation with all levels of law enforcement. The Joint Operation would coordinate a unified law enforcement response, modeled on the successful Interstate Task Force On Illegal Guns. The plan also includes:

  • Introducing legislation to establish criminal penalties for online marketplaces and third-party sellers that foster the sale of stolen goods and increase criminal penalties for assaulting retail workers.
  • Setting up a New York State Police Smash and Grab Enforcement Unit. The Executive Budget includes $25.2 million in new funding to deploy a dedicated State Police team to build cases against organized retail theft rings and create a new State Police enforcement unit dedicated to this purpose.
  • $10 million in funding for DAs to prosecute property crime cases and deploy dedicated Retail Theft Teams in District Attorney (DA) Offices.
  • $5 million in additional State funding to build the capacity of local law enforcement efforts to combat retail theft.
  • $5 million for a Commercial Security Tax Credit to help business owners offset the costs of certain store security measures.

Governor Hochul’s FY25 efforts to fight property crime build on her existing efforts to protect public safety and fight crime. Under Governor Hochul’s leadership, New York is a national leader in gun arrests and red-flag laws. Federal CDC data from 2023 shows that New York has the second-lowest homicide rate among the most populous states in the nation, and the fourth-lowest rate among those states of firearm-related injuries resulting in death. Gun violence has decreased across New York State, and murders and shootings have declined to pre-pandemic levels. Since 2021, murders have declined by 37 percent and shootings have declined by 35 percent.

President and CEO of the Retail Council of New York State Melissa O’Connor said, “The retail industry strongly supports Governor Hochul’s comprehensive plan to address organized retail crime and repeat shoplifters in New York State, as we have prioritized many of these initiatives for quite some time. Interagency coordination at the state and local level is absolutely critical to identify emerging trends and the worst offenders, and we strongly support the appointment of dedicated prosecutors for cases involving retail theft. This criminal activity goes well beyond the financial loss for retailers – it threatens the safety of store employees and the community. Governor Hochul has taken the time to understand the severity of these challenges, and we will work closely with her administration to ensure each initiative is implemented and funded appropriately in 2024.”

Read Governor Hochul’s full press release here.

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