Police reports show retail crime nearly double in Vancouver
VANCOUVER, Wash. (KPTV) - Reports of retail crime in Vancouver have nearly doubled in the last year, according to police.
Department data shows officers took nearly twice as many shoplifting reports so far this year, compared to 2021.
Vancouver police spokeswoman Kim Kapp recently told FOX 12 that thieves are also more brazen with their crimes.
“We are definitely seeing an increase in the aggressive and violent behavior of these retail thieves,” Kapp said.
If the data reveals the problem, it can also be part of the solution, police say, guiding the department to dedicate more resources to catching thieves.
“We are working with loss prevention folks at a variety of retailers in Vancouver, primarily on the east side, where we have a lot of big-box stores strip mall locations where we tend to see a lot more retail theft,” Kapp said.
The department has also conducted special missions this summer to stage officers at various retail locations to apprehend suspects. Kapp said operations in June and July resulted in 11 arrests.
The department hopes it will send a bigger message.
“There is actually a consequence for this – you can’t just walk out with a cart full of merchandise and think you’re going to get away with it,” Kapp said.
It’s an issue that’s also grabbed the attention of Washington’s political and state leaders.
Earlier this summer, the state’s Attorney General, Bob Ferguson, announced a new task force dedicated to fighting organized retail crime.
It’s something that retails and the associations who represent them, have pushed for.
“Some people are getting hurt and some people are even getting killed,” said Mark Johnson, with the Washington Retail Association.
“Being able to send a message, if you come to Washington and you’re committing these crimes, you’ll be caught and you’ll be prosecuted and you will serve time,” Johnson said of the new task force.
The Washington Retail Association reports that businesses in Washington lost about $2.7 billion last year from theft and shoplifting.
“That’s about $270 million in tax revenues that will not be collected in the state of Washington,” Johnson said.
According to the Attorney General, the task force will focus on “sophisticated criminal rings.”
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