There has been a vigorous Fayette County discussion on organized crime coming to our county. Recently, the Lululemon store in The Avenues shopping center was robbed shortly after the Lululemon store in Gwinnett County was robbed.
The organized thieves go around the metro area hitting one store after another fully aware that their chances of getting away with the crimes are very good. The corporate hierarchy lays down strict rules for employees not to react to robberies in progress and allows the criminals to raze the store and steal whatever they desire.
Rules vary by store for staff calling 911 or taking other protective maneuvers. In some cases, interaction with the police and filing reports is hindered.
It can leave our community vulnerable
There are several obvious problems resulting from free-spirited organized crime sprees. First, emboldened criminals keep coming back. Second, stores eventually vacate the area when the criminal activity reaches a certain point. Third, criminals are always a danger to the general public whether through violent assault or reckless driving on our roads while fleeing the scene.
If you want to see precisely how fast the situation can deteriorate in a community, I strongly suggest you watch this video from what is currently happening on the west coast, see: https://youtu.be/NTV2S20trfM.
Major retailers in the US have been forced to shut down store locations due to millions of dollars in losses due to organized theft. In 2021, companies lost a combined $94.5 billion to shrinkage, a term used to describe theft and other types of inventory loss. Stores including Walmart, Macy’s, Target, Walgreens, and others have left communities that failed to address the crime situation, leaving their citizens with fewer opportunities to buy groceries, medications, and other goods.
Some are fighting back to save the communities
In neighboring Alabama, organized retail thieves have become so brazen that the state legislature created legislation entitled “Retail Theft Package” that increases the punishment for those who commit such crimes. “This package is hope for businesses for some relief from the suffering that they’re [retailers] undergoing right now because there is really nothing that we can do to help them right now,” says Barry Matson, Executive Director of the Alabama District Attorney’s Association.
The Alabama legislation also addressed the liability issues business owners can face when trying to stop a thief.
What can Fayette citizens do?
Make time to contact our District Attorney in Griffin Judicial Circuit, Marie G. Broder. Communicate to her that we will not accept plea deals and request that her staff push for maximum sentencing in the courts. The facsimile number for the office of the District Attorney is 770-716-4857. DA Broder’s official email address is email@example.com
You can also contact Georgia House Rep. Josh Bonner at firstname.lastname@example.org. Ask him to please take a look at the legislation from Alabama and other states to see how we can curb this kind of illegal and dangerous activity in our state.
Let’s not emulate those disastrous policies of the states and urban areas that went soft on crime, causing stores to leave, and increasing peril for the local citizens.
[Brown is a former mayor of Peachtree City and served two terms on the Fayette County Board of Commissioners. You can read all his columns by clicking on his photo below.]