NYC To Fight Crime One Acronym At A Time
NYC To Fight Crime One Acronym At A Time
Acronyms for the win! Rather than put actual penalties on criminals, it seems coming up with cute acronyms is the VERY BEST way to fight crime in New York City.
One idea? Keep a list of the serial shoplifters who run rampant across the city. PROP is the acronym, and yes, it’s as ludicrous as it sounds.
The Precision Repeat Offender Program, or PROP, is one of a series of proposals laid out in the 33-page “Combating Retail Theft” report released Wednesday — months after Adams convened a Gracie Mansion summit on the problem last year and promised to find solutions.
The city will launch a pair of early intervention programs to give first-time offenders a chance to avoid prosecution and allow convicted crooks to dodge jail by enrolling in community-based help services.
Bodegas and smaller retailers could get kiosks to put potential shoplifters in touch with services like food stamps, jobs, mental health treatment and housing help. Merchants “are often aware of early warning signals,” the report said.
Retail workers who are victims of crime or could be in harm’s way can get training in conflict resolution or de-escalation tactics and get access to victims’ services.
It took six months for the geniuses at City Hall to come up with this acronym game. Do they REALLY think small businesses are going to take the time to send their employees to de-escalation training? This after at least TWO employees were thrown in jail and/or were going to be charged for defending themselves from attacks?
Kiosks for the PROP win to solve crime? I can just picture it now. A shoplifter is caught in the act, so the shop employee will de-escalate the situation by pointing them to that ever so helpful kiosk where they’ll be able to apply for food stamps on the spot and magically get a counseling appointment the very next day! Those acronym crime fighters are LIT!
Not to be outdone, but the subway system is jumping into the game as well. In order to stop those pesky folks from hopping on the trains without paying their fares, plastic barriers are going to be put up. It took months and a 120 page report to come up with this stellar idea!
It plans to install thick plastic farebeating barriers in busy subway stations.
And if that seems familiar, it should: The chain drugstores use plastic doors to keep sticky fingers out of the toothpaste and candy bar bins. (This isn’t exactly working, which largely is why so many chain stores have closed.)
And while the barriers surely will make the subways seem even more fearsomely claustrophobic, they’ll do little to solve another big farebeating problem: More than one-third of the MTA’s bus riders simply stroll past the MetroCard pedestals — and drivers who object get punched.
Will this stop mentally ill people from harassing and attacking passengers on the subway? And no, the Jordan Neely case wasn’t the first time this happened.
Back on Jan. 2, 2022, Washington was heading from the Far Rockaway homeless shelter where he lived to visit his parents when Brian Moolenaar, himself homeless as well as apparently mentally ill, lunged at him out of nowhere in the subway.
The stab in the neck left Washington paralyzed, in and out of hospitals until the end. He leaves behind a teenage son.
The City Hall geniuses haven’t figured out the appropriate acronym plan for that one either.
Going back to the shoplifting issue. Is the idea of City Hall keeping a list going to deter anyone? Nope.
A shoplifter walks in, starts heisting product, and the store employee consults a list. ‘Oh, you are on the list. Carry on.’
According to NYPD stats, there were 13,738 reported retail thefts through the end of March this year, down just a tick from the 14,790 over the same span in 2022.
NYPD Chief of Crime Control Strategies Michael Lipetri said repeat offenders are driving the numbers.
“Of the arrests this year of retail theft, 70% of arrestees this year have been arrested for prior shoplifting complaints,” Lipetri said. “We have individuals that have been arrested over 30 times just this year targeting the same businesses.”
Read that last sentence again. There are people in NYC who’ve been arrested over THRTY times this year for shoplifting. And they are still at it.
But guys! The list! And those amazing acronyms that will fix everything! We pinkie swear.
Is this real??— Mary Katharine Ham (@mkhammer) May 20, 2023
So real it’s parody on steroids.
That last one is pure gold. "A thief briefly paused his burglary of the CVS when he stopped to read a social service kiosk about how he might have chosen his life journey differently. And then he proceeded to procure multiple inventory items for his personal use or sale."— Aaron Astor (@AstorAaron) May 20, 2023
Portland’s shoplifting problem is so bad that all the retailers have left the downtown area. San Francisco is such a crime ridden area that Target put their entire inventory on lockdown so serial shoplifters couldn’t waltz out with the goods. In fact, nation-wide Target has lost over $500 million to theft in the last year. And, don’t get me started on Chicago!
What’s notable about all of this is none of the three cities impose consequences on the thieves. This new crime fighting plan won’t either. It’s pandering from people who chose to coddle the criminals and then wonder why retail stores are closing up shop.
No matter how many acronym programs are put in place, unless there are real actionable consequences for the thieves, nothing will change.
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Feature Photo Credit: Shoplifters sign via iStock, cropped and modified