It’s not surprising that shoplifters don’t get in trouble with the law anymore if you stop prosecuting them for petty crimes. But that doesn’t mean they’ve stopped shoplifting and committing petty crimes. In fact, if anything, it means they’re shoplifting a lot more than they used to, because why wouldn’t they? They’re going to shoplift so much that it becomes impossible for businesses to stay open, which means that very quickly, so-called “disadvantaged communities” will lose access to convenience stores and pharmacies. They will become even more disadvantaged, which is supposedly the opposite of “restorative justice.”
We don’t have to speculate about this. All we have to do is look at what’s happening right now in Boston. Walgreens has just announced it’s closing its fourth location in Boston in the past year. Every single time, it’s been a low-income community, mostly black or Hispanic, that’s been affected. This time, they’re closing a store in the mostly black neighborhood of Roxbury.
You might think this development would prompt some reflection from the media in Boston, or the politicians, or activists in the local community. You might think they’d ask whether allowing people to rob stores is, in fact, a bad idea. But that’s not what’s happening. Instead, we’re getting reports like this one, from CBS Boston:
Well, that last question is easy to answer: Walgreens, just like every other private business, has no obligation whatsoever to lose money. They don’t have to stay open to provide any kind of “service” to the local community. Their job is to make money. That’s not greed. That’s called economics. It’s the government’s job to make sure there is law and order, so that thugs don’t just walk into the Walgreens and take everything. And in the past several years, the government has deliberately decided not to do that.
But there’s no sense anywhere in that entire segment that Boston’s policy of encouraging shoplifting might be to blame. You can go online and watch the whole clip if you want. It’s not there. There’s no sense that Boston’s recent decision to defund its police department could be playing a role, either. Instead, we’re left with the implication that Walgreens just doesn’t like black people. The argument appears to be that Walgreens should keep its business open as a charity, where it keeps bleeding money in order to provide various services to the local community.
Meanwhile, coming out of the west coast, as Steve spotted on Wednesday: Underwear and socks are the latest items to be locked up in shoplifting crackdown — as Walmart and Target both take action on theft of undies.
The quotes from the article are illuminating, to say the least:
As thefts have surged over the past year, stores have been increasingly keeping items behind lock and key.
But these have tended to be electronics and toiletries.
Shoppers at the stores, in the Bay Area of California, have reacted with suprise at the move by two of America’s biggest stores.
‘It comes to the point of how ghetto does it look that they have to lock up the socks or whatever it is that they have under the key,’ shopper Olga Leon told NBC Bay Area.
Well, which would you prefer? A store with merchandise that locks it up to prevent theft, or no store at all? Which leads us to:
One customer wanting to buy boxer shorts waited ten minutes for a staff member to come and unlock the case containing them.
Meanwhile, a Walmart store in the Hilltop area is also locking up underwear. Staff there say they are hit by shoplifters every day.
Richmond City Council member Cesar Cepeda told NBC: ‘The cost will go up as residents will have to pay more, or they’ll have to commute and travel farther to pick up their groceries, to pick up their socks, to pick up their prescriptions.
‘It’s really going to be hurting our community.’
Congrats, Council member Cepeda; you’ve just stumbled into an Ayn Rand novel, assuming that businesses have some moral obligation to remain in high-theft areas and take it as their shelves are picked clean.
Of course, in many areas of the Bay Area, residents have a second choice for rapid purchase of goods: Amazon, which touts same day delivery in cities like San Francisco.
But that comes with its own sets of pitfalls, for both consumers and Amazon: rampant package theft.