A “shoplifting boom” is plaguing West Coast retailers, Christopher Rufo warns at City Journal: “Since 2010, thefts increased by 22 percent in Portland, 50 percent in San Francisco and 61 percent in Los Angeles.”
Driving it is “an explosion in addiction rates for heroin, fentanyl and meth” — since getting cash for drugs is “the most common single motivation for crime” across America.
And the problem “has only accelerated because of decriminalization,” as “many criminals now believe, justifiably, that they can steal with impunity.” Fearing lawsuits, many stores no longer try to stop even blatant shoplifters.
San Francisco “now leads the nation in overall property crime,” while the problem is driving retailers to close their downtown Seattle shops. Yet the leaders of progressive cities still “refuse to consider how mass decriminalization fuels a breakdown in public order.”