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Stores are locking up everyday goods. Is organized retail theft on the rise?

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A shopper walks past the Target store logo affixed to the Harlem location, one of 9 locations set to close announced by discount retailer, New York, NY, September 27, 2023.

Socks, cold medicine, even deodorant. Going to Target or CVS these days to grab essentials is a little more complicated as retailers lock up everyday goods in an effort to curb shoplifting. It’s enough to get shoppers frustrated and wondering “Is all this really necessary?”

Just how much shoplifting and organized retail crime is hurting stores is somewhat up for debate. Target announced last week that it is closing nine stores due to theft and organized retail crime. The corporation said Oct. 21 will mark the last day in business for some stores in Seattle; Portland Oregon; Oakland, California; San Francisco; and the Harlem neighborhood of New York City.

“We cannot continue operating these stores because theft and organized retail crime are threatening the safety of our team and guests, and contributing to unsustainable business performance,” Target said in a press release. “We know that our stores serve an important role in their communities, but we can only be successful if the working and shopping environment is safe for all.”

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