Assemblymember Wallace: Budget Cracks Down on Retail Theft, Protect Public Safety

“Protecting public safety is a top priority, and I’m pleased to announce that the state budget arms local law enforcement with additional tools to keep our community safe.In recent years, we’ve seen a drop in violent crime, particularly gun violence.Unfortunately, however, we’ve seen a spike other crimes like retail theft, facilitated by online marketplaces that allow thieves to resell stolen goods anonymously. In this budget, we are taking retail theft seriously by raising penalties for assaulting retail workers, providing grants to help small businesses invest in anti-theft measures, creating a new crime for those who knowingly foster the sale of stolen goods, and cracking down on repeat offenders by allowing prosecutors to combine the value of goods stolen from different stores to increase penalties.

“We’re also allocating $40.2 million to create anti-retail theft teams in state and local law enforcement, including hiring 100 additional officers. We are adding $347 million toward anti-gun violence initiatives and another $35.7 million to prevent and prosecute domestic violence crimes.

“We’re also increasing penalties for 22 crimes, including gang assault, strangulation, aggravated murder, rape, sexual misconduct, sexual abuse and criminal possession of a weapon when those offenses are committed as a hate crime.We are all too familiar with the horror of hate crimes here in Western New York, as we still mourn the ten souls murdered at the Tops in Buffalo.With these changes, we will ensure that anyone who commits a violent, hateful crime will be held accountable.

“Finally, we are taking on the illegal cannabis shops that are selling unregulated, untested, and unsafe products. This budget gives local law enforcement officers the authority they need to shut down these illegal operators who are endangering public health.

“This budget shows the public that we are serious about the safety and well-being of New Yorkers.”