The East Coast grocery chain Giant has begun closing some of the entrances to its stores while displaying fewer expensive items on shelves to help mitigate thefts, the Washington Post reported.
Giant, which has 165 stores in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC, is trying to avoid closing stores despite the increase in violence and theft in recent years.
According to company president Ira Kress, in the last five years, thefts have increased “tenfold” while there has been an exponential rise in violence.
Kress told the Washington Post that the last thing he wants to do is have to close the stores, but the company must be able to run the stores “safely and profitably.”
Giant stores will also be limiting the number of items that can be taken to self-checkout lanes while keeping some items, like razor blades, in secure containers that sound an alarm when opened.
To mitigate the loss, the retail chain has also hired security guards, arming those working in stores with a history of violence.
In recent months, major retailers, including Walmart and Nordstrom, have been closing stores in major US cities like San Francisco, Washington DC, Portland, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Atlanta due to theft and violence.
But so far, Giant has not closed any locations. Kress told the Washington Post that he knows that the measures taken are inconvenient to his customers but “the alternative is worse.”
Kress said the items stolen by thieves are anything from laundry detergent and bath soap to “roasts or shrimp or crab legs.”
A recent study from the National Retail Federation found that shoplifting has become more organized, with goods stolen from retailers being resold.
The study found that organized retail crime in 2021 increased on average by 26.5 percent. Retailers estimate that around half of the $94.5 billion in retail crime in 2021 was from organized retail crime.