COMMUNITY leaders have sounded the alarm after a supermarket lost more than $500,000 worth of merchandise to shoplifters.
Theft has become a huge issue for retailers nationwide in recent years, but the situation is particularly grave at a Giant Food location in Southeast Washington DC.
Although a closure hasn't been announced, city councilperson Trayon White explained how detrimental that could be at a recent press conference, Fox News reported.
Access to groceries is limited in that part of the city.
The Giant location the only major grocery outlet in Washington DC's Ward 8, which has about 85,000 residents.
"We know it's tough times, and we know the price of food has skyrocketed in the last three years," White said.
"We cannot afford to hurt ourselves by constantly taking from the store, because I mean, everybody is going to be without a place to eat, and enough is enough."
He said the goods stolen at the supermarket account for roughly 20percent of the store's sales.
That's why Giant has spent thousands to hire security guards and update its equipment.
Employees have stopped theft suspects 135 times, but many more have gotten away without any immediate consequences.
"We have to eat at this store, and what we take from his store we put the store in jeopardy of closing down," White said.
The company's president Ira Kress told WRC that shoplifting has skyrocketed at many Giant stores in recent years.
"The level of theft and the level of violence associated with the theft have probably increased five to 10 times in the last three years," he said.
This means that many popular products are now being kept under lock and key.
"We’ve locked down baby formula, we’ve locked down razor blades and we have some stores that have locked down specific types of soap or different deodorants or air fresheners," Kress said.
He believes more effective law enforcement is the solution for retailers.
"Absent those tougher laws, absent the application of those laws, the enforcement of those laws, we continue to see crime escalate and violence escalate," Kress said.