Unsurprisingly, small business owners in Chicago today say they are still reeling financially.
Chicago is not alone in dealing with this problem. Nearly every major American city can point to high-profile instances of businesses being targeted. In total, over 300,000 instances of property crime occur in New York, Houston, and Chicago alone.
New York City, for instance, reports nearly 20,000 robberies every year—nearly 50 robberies every day. That’s a staggering number, and it’s a problem that’s woefully underreported. With no political pressure on politicians, costly property damage keeps occurring.
The frequency of property crime is directly linked to policy decisions. For example, San Francisco recently changed their policing guidelines and stopped enforcing shoplifting of anything valued under $900. In just a few months, there was a noticeable uptick in shoplifting. This policy culminated in a viral episode of brazen stealing that caught headlines last week.
While this should not surprise policymakers, it should concern them. In response to San Francisco’s shoplifting problem, 17 Walgreens stores have closed and the company isn’t planning on staying in the city. New York and Chicago are experiencing a similar wave of businesses leaving their inner cities.
While high taxes and an unfavorable business climate is one causal factor for this exodus, the impact of criminality should not be downplayed. Even companies in culturally liberal centers like Portland, Oregon are complaining about unenforced property laws.