FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 31, 2024
CONTACT: Valerie Best | 347.861.4754 | vbest@nysenate.gov

Senator James Skoufis (D-Orange County) joined with Melissa O’Connor of the Retail Council of New York State, Town of Wallkill Police Chief Robert Hertman, and Town of Wallkill Deputy Supervisor Eric Valentin to announce anti-retail theft measures that Skoufis championed during the state budget negotiations. Provisions to prevent and prosecute larceny were included in this year’s recently enacted state budget. The budget also includes funds dedicated to retail theft units within the State Police, DA’s offices, and local law enforcement, as well as tax credits to help small businesses with added security measures, such as cameras.

Retail larceny has been steadily increasing, and its impact is significant enough to warrant meaningful resources in the state budget. These resources include supporting law enforcement’s ability to build cases against organized retail theft rings, increased criminal penalties for individuals who assault a retail worker, allowing prosecutors to aggregate the value of stolen goods in order to reach a higher larceny threshold, and making it illegal to foster the sale of stolen goods through a third party seller.

“Over the last several years, I’ve been an outspoken voice for addressing inadequacies in New York’s public safety laws,” said Senator Skoufis. “According to the Town of Wallkill’s police data, over the same five month period, larceny cases have risen from an unsettling 221 in 2023 to a disturbing 324 in 2024. Addressing retail theft requires action from every level of leadership, and I was glad to champion all of these important measures.”

“On behalf of thousands of stores in New York State, I want to thank the Legislature, Executive, district attorneys, and state and local police for listening to the concerns of business owners and employees,” said Melissa O’Connor, President and CEO of the Retail Council of New York State. “As a result of consistent collaboration among all stakeholders, including Senator Skoufis, New York now has new laws and related funding to address organized retail crime and habitual retail theft. The retail industry will continue our work with community leaders to ensure a safe shopping environment for all New Yorkers, including those in the Hudson Valley.”

“The recent increase in larcenies can be attributed in part to organized retail theft rings,” said Town of Wallkill Police Chief Hertman. “In response, we along with our law enforcement partners at the state, county, and local level, in collaboration with merchants, are implementing strategies to respond to this issue. I thank Senator Skoufis for his assistance in obtaining funding that will further our collective efforts to reduce retail theft in our community.”

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