Washington State leads in retail theft, impacting small businesses nationwide

Feb 1, 2024
Written by WR Communications


Organized retail crime has escalated into a significant challenge for retailers across the United States, compelling major stores to shut down outlets due to theft-related losses and safety concerns. The National Retail Federation highlighted an increase in the prioritization of organized retail crime among American retailers, with a notable rise from 70.7% in 2022 to 78.1% in 2023. Additionally, an alarming 88% of retailers reported a surge in the aggressiveness and violence of shoplifters over the past year.

Forbes Advisor conducted an in-depth analysis of retail theft statistics to identify the states most affected by this issue and surveyed American small business owners to gauge the impact on their operations. The findings revealed that 90% of small business retailers have encountered theft, with 83% acknowledging it as a significant concern. Washington state emerged as the most affected by retail crime, while Wyoming was the least impacted. Pennsylvania stood out for having the highest average total value of stolen goods per capita, amounting to $430.

The survey also uncovered that 85% of small business retailers experience theft annually, with a majority reporting an increase or consistent frequency of theft in 2023 compared to previous years. Losses from theft predominantly ranged between $500 and $2,500 monthly for most retailers, prompting many to adopt measures such as price increases and the installation of security cameras to mitigate the impact.

The repercussions of theft extend beyond immediate financial losses, affecting small businesses’ overall operation and sustainability. Most small business owners resort to filing theft claims with insurance and reporting incidents to authorities despite the challenges and reluctance associated with these processes. Adopting anti-theft measures is widespread among small business retailers, reflecting the urgent need to address this growing concern.

In summary, organized retail crime is exerting considerable pressure on retailers nationwide, with Washington state experiencing the highest incidents of theft. The impact on small businesses is profound, leading to significant financial losses and necessitating various strategies to combat this pervasive issue.


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