Portland Oregon area stores are suffering a serious unintended consequence of the city’s attempts to go “green”; a huge increase in shoplifting. Local shoplifters have found the reusable bags which many stores sell for the token price of just one dollar have become an excellent five-finger discount tool, Many shoplifters will conceal many items in the reusable bags, and then only pay for part or none of the items, and then walk out the door of a store. Even worse, many stores have policies warning employees not to interfere with shoplifters, and have little to no loss prevention programs, seldom hiring security persons or only calling police in the event of more serious criminal activity such as armed robbery or serious assault.
The use of the reusable bags, plus little or no loss prevention have even resulted in some stores actually closing due to so much shoplifting. One North Portland area Walgreen’s store near a huge low income housing project area actually closed due to so much shoplifting compared to actual sales. Another Portland area actually spent a great deal of money and downsized and cut it’s store size to stem shoplifting and cut losses rather than to institute loss prevention tactics or to eliminate late night hours when few items will sell, and many items are more likely to be stolen by criminals looking for quick drug money or other things.
One blog published out of Portland proclaims that the reusable bags are “great for shoplifting” and many comments only agree. Apparently in testimony, some in the business community testified before City Hall, but these officials ignored these concerns and now some medium sized grocery stores are reporting shoplifting losses increasing by about $10,000 a month or more, costing these businesses a great deal of money and endangering their future survival.
Environmentalists who pervade the thinking of the Portland City Council might actually cause some businesses to close because their plastic bag ban hurt loss prevention programs in some businesses enough that these stores are no longer profitable, and will follow the closure of that North Portland Walgreen’s store.
Some stores are now being stolen out of business, thanks to the “green” thinking of some in government.