It certainly didn’t take that long for America to go from record-low crime rates to reliving the worst of the seventies. And that means this kind of thing is normal now.
In her 37 years in the grocery industry, said Kim Cordova, a union president in Colorado, she had never experienced the level of violence that her members face today.
So when she was negotiating contracts for 21,000 grocery workers in Colorado this past winter, the usual issues of wages and scheduling were certainly on the table. But just as critical, if not more so, was safety.
“What happened with COVID?” said Cordova, president of Local 7 of the United Food and Commercial Workers. “People have changed. Sometimes I wonder if I am living in a Netflix movie. This can’t be real.”
The union negotiated a contract that ensures workers have the right to defend themselves if a customer attacks them.
This isn’t “COVID”. This is pro-crime policies, spurred on by Black Lives Matter race riots, which set loose countless criminals from prison and refused to arrest criminals on the loose, and effectively legalized all sorts of crimes.
The collapse of the criminal justice system has emboldened criminals.
A Downtown Denver business owner says shoplifting at his stores has gotten so bad he’s having to charge customers a fee to make up the costs.
“[It’s called the] Denver Crime Spike Fee, and so that’ll be a 1% transaction fee for all of the items that are purchased in our stores,” Derek Friedman, owner of several Sportsfan and Sock Em Sock Emporium locations in the Denver metro, said Sunday.
Since 2019, he says shoplifting at his downtown and Federal Boulevard stores has tripled.
The New York Times remains baffled by what’s causing “people” to commit violence in stores.
According to a New York Times analysis of FBI assault data, the number of assaults in many retail establishments has been increasing at a faster pace than the national average.
From 2018 to 2020, assaults reported to the FBI by law enforcement agencies overall rose 42%; they increased 63% in grocery stores and 75% in convenience stores.
It’s a mystery.
Still, some politicians have seized on viral videos of brazen shoplifting to portray left-leaning city leaders as soft on crime. Others have accused the industry of grossly exaggerating losses and warned that the thefts were being used as a pretext to roll back criminal justice reforms.
The criminal justice reforms will continue until grocery workers are all armed.
“These criminals feel like they own the store,” said Tony Settles, a clerk at a Safeway in downtown Denver. “The No. 1 thing that can fix this is accountability.”
She thinks the hands-off approach to shoplifting is leading to a broader breakdown. Kyong Barry, 59, who has been working in the grocery industry for more than 20 years and is a member of UFCW Local 3000, said she had recently noticed that regular customers were walking out the door without paying for items.
“It’s like a disease,” she said. “When there are no consequences, some people think: Why should I pay if others are not?”
It’s the socialist disease.