Seattle retail theft skyrockets after report of $2.7 billion loss in 2022

SEATTLE, WASH. — According to the National Retail Federation in 2021, Seattle ranked 8th in the nation for highest organized retail crime.

In 2022, retailers in Washington reported an increase in theft, resulting in a loss of $2.7 billion.

The city is now cracking down on the issue. Tuesday morning Seattle councilmembers talked about implementing several rules that will not only address the problem but help businesses succeed.

“I mean it’s really bad,” said Trae who works in retail in Downtown Seattle.

Trae says theft is a big issue and has witnessed it firsthand.

“I’ve seen it all the time at Bartell’s, over by Nordstrom. Nordstrom in general just gets hit a lot as well, just because I always see people run out of there,” said Trae.

Seattle leaders say they’ve heard from businesses impacted. The city’s auditor’s office compiled a report on the issue, which lists the top 10 retail locations hit last year. Responding to those calls cost Seattle Police over 5,000 service hours.

“In 2022 there were 13,000 calls to SPD from the top 100 retail locations in the city,” said Lisa Herbold, Seattle City Councilmember.

City leaders are looking to collaborate with the Organized Retail Crime Unit at the State Attorney General’s Office. They also want to keep track of theft operations and follow retail crime cases county prosecutors are handling.

Trae is hopeful something will change, and he’s not alone.

“I would love to see it instead of just hearing about it,” said Trae.

“I want to feel safe knowing that the city is taking care of it, and the money that I paid with taxes and everything will go towards helping people feel more secure,” said Sujita Shah, who works in Downtown Seattle.

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