Public safety is the top concern for retailers during the 2023 session. Aggressively tackling these concerns and related retail crimes is part of WR’s multi-pronged approach to address the growing issues surrounding public safety, retail theft and organized retail crime (ORC). One priority is to support law enforcement while strengthening laws that discourage crime and place public p safety at risk.
In his testimony supporting SB 5361—a bill seeking to incentivize hiring law enforcement—WR Senior VP of Policy and Government Affairs Mark Johnson said, “We need more police out there to help us enforce these laws.”
Last year, Washington state retailers lost about $2.7 billion in theft—about $100 billion nationally.
“We are greatly concerned about the safety of our employees going to work and the safety of our customers in their stores. We see having more police … as a very good and positive step towards that,” Johnson added.
WR is also in strong support of legislation that will address police pursuits. (HB 1053, HB 1363, SB 5034, and SB 5352) The 2021 Police Reform legislation enacted to curtail police pursuits is said by many to have resulted in serious and unforeseen consequences. While injuries related to high-speed chases may have been an impetus for the change in law, some are pushing back, saying crime has increased because criminals know law enforcement can’t follow them.