Issues & Insights

Biden’s Border Crisis Fuels Massive Spike In Retail Crime

As retailers reported their quarterly earnings this month, a phrase that kept cropping up is one you probably never heard before – “organized retail crime.” It has spiked enough that it’s eating into profits.

Turns out that, by throwing open the southern border, President Joe Biden has created a booming business for Mexican cartels ripping off U.S. retailers – although you’d never know it based on the media blackout of this trend.

Target, Dollar Tree, Foot Locker, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Nordstrom, and others recently disclosed that organized retail crime – or ORC for short – is hitting their bottom lines.

Dick’s Chief Financial Officer Navdeep Gupta said that the sports retailer lowered its profit outlook for the year in part because “the number of incidents and the organized retail crime impact came in significantly higher than we anticipated.”

Dollar Tree said it is keeping more of its items in locked cases or removing them altogether as organized theft climbs

Just last week, 50 criminals swarmed a Los Angeles mall and made off with $300,000 worth of stolen goods. A news report suggests that they were following orders from organized crime or gang members.

“There’s no doubt that there’s a lot of … criminal organizations behind this. Some of it involves gang members; some of it involves people that are what you would identify as professional retail thieves,” Deputy Los Angeles Police Chief Alan Hamilton told NBC News on Sunday. “It runs the gamut, and there is a black market for purchasing these items, unfortunately. … The same people [are] then turning around and committing these acts again, over and over again.”

The National Retail Federation says ORC cost retailers close to $100 billion in 2021 – a significant increase from the year before – and that money eventually comes out of consumers’ pockets.

The costs don’t end there. States are spending hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars setting up special task forces to fight ORC. “California alone has invested more than $241.4 million over the past year bolstering law enforcement efforts to investigate and prevent organized retail theft,” reports Reuters. Then there’s also the estimated $15 billion estimated lost tax revenue.

In other words, it’s a huge problem, and getting worse.

Why the sudden explosion in organized retail crime? When it covers this issue at all, the mainstream press usually just throws up its hands, or says retailers are exaggerating the problem.

But could it have anything to do with the fact that Biden opened the border and let millions of illegal immigrants flood into the country?

Immigration and Customs Enforcement  (ICE) sees a connection. In a statement released last June, it said: “Recent investigations have also identified organized retail crime schemes exploiting undocumented migrants forced to steal goods to pay back ‘coyotes’ who smuggle them across international borders.”

In another report, ICE says that:

Boosters are often undocumented immigrants, labor trafficked into the United States and working off a debt, or individuals suffering from some form of addiction. The boosters are the thieves on the ground that steal (boost) the products. They typically have a list of merchandise to steal from their crew boss and may hit numerous stores in one day. The boosters will likely be paid in cash or through anonymous/encrypted peer-to-peer payment apps.

By June of last year, the problem had grown so severe that ICE announced an effort to crack down on this migrant-fueled crime wave.

“It’s a crime that’s occurring out in our streets that’s becoming large enough where the federal government is announcing its involvement,” Thomas Welch, chief for ICE Homeland Security Investigation’s financial crimes unit in Washington, D.C., said at a news conference last year.

The connection between illegal immigrants and organized retail crime isn’t exactly new. The FBI told Congress back in 2009 about immigrants’ role, informing lawmakers that: “organized retail theft groups … utilize low-level boosters – those who actually steal the merchandise – and higher-level fencers, who frequently coordinate booster thefts. Often these boosters are illegal immigrants working off a debt or individuals suffering from some form of addiction. If these low-level boosters are removed from the criminal enterprise others will simply step in to take their place.”

Is it so hard to believe that there’s a connection between the tsunami of illegal immigrants under Biden and the rise in this form of organized crime?

Coverage of this connection has been sparse.

The Washington Examiner, one of the only outlets to cover this angle, reported this week that “Mexican cartels are behind the spike in organized retail crime and are deeply entrenched in every level of the process, according to the federal government’s chief investigative agency.”

It goes on to explain that:

These retail crimes are perpetrated by people who work as part of a crime ring run by cartels. In recent years, cartels have gone from illicit drug manufacturing and smuggling, human smuggling and trafficking, and illegal firearm smuggling to commandeering crime in the retail environment.

Cartels are involved in every level of retail crime, from in-store theft and listing items in online marketplaces to shipping stolen merchandise worldwide and using U.S. financial institutions to hold their profits.

This is a huge, hidden tax on Americans, who are paying in the form of higher prices and a loss of safety and security. It’s getting worse, courtesy of our current president.

And to its undying shame, corrupt Big Media are ignoring this story, both because it involves the border crisis they pretend doesn’t exist and because it reflects badly on Biden.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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  • While there is certainly evidence that some retail crime is being controlled by outside forces I fail to see the connection to Biden’s border policies. Statistically immigrants have a much lower crime rate than citizens and this is just another false accusation against this administration.

    • There’s a difference between immigrants and illegal immigrants. By definition, illegal immigrants have already committed one crime — entering the country illegally.

    • Keep on believing that they just arrested people in my state that where Sinaloen drug cartel members and we are on the Canadian Border.

  • This article really misses the point. These problems started when liberal states like IL, NY and others de-criminalized shoplifting. Once that happened we experienced massive shoplifting at level we never experienced before. From the all the film strips I have watched, most of the miscreants are inner city residents not recent immigrants.

    • No one ever wants to admit the real truth. In every one of the videos of mass retail theft, the culprits are black.

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