New retail theft prevention plan in state budget includes harsher charges, more patrols

Once signed into law, prosecutors will be able to issue a felony charge instead of a misdemeanor to anyone who physically harms a retail worker.

Caroline Flynn

Apr 19, 2024, 10:04 AM

Updated 35 days ago

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Gov. Kathy Hochul is cracking down on retail theft crimes in the 2025 budget by putting power in the hands of law enforcement, courts and small business owners.
As the state budget continues to be edited, Hochul announced that $40.2 million would be allocated to law enforcement teams combatting organized retail theft.
Small business owners could also potentially receive tax credits for investing and implementing security measures to try and prevent crime from occurring in their places of business.
"Anything you can do to help small businesses is probably a good thing," said Anthony Depalo.
The Huntington resident said he has seen firsthand how surveillance can curb crime.
“My father owned a small business. He had security cameras, so I know the importance of those things, so I think it's good they'll get tax credit,” he said.
Once signed into law, prosecutors will be able to issue a felony charge instead of a misdemeanor to anyone who physically harms a retail worker.
Hochul says attorneys will also be able to combine the value of stolen goods from the same crime scheme when filing larceny charges.
By making it illegal to foster the sale of stolen goods, Hochul hopes to make it easier to prosecute third-party sellers that post items obtained illegally online.
"It's a step in the right direction," said Holbrook resident Steven Toal.
Toal says he believes there should also be stricter penalties for repeat offenders to further curb incidents.
"What they’re giving out to people that do this stuff is clearly not enough because they go out and do it again," he said.


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