Organized retail crime schemes are nothing new. Those accused of shoplifting are often caught with common items that have some value on the black market, items like over-the-counter painkillers, baby formula and razors.
Now police nationwide are grappling with this trend: Liquid Tide laundry detergent is being stolen at increasing rates. For example, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported 103 thefts of the detergent in the city, which is home to Tide’s manufacturer, Proctor & Gamble. Similar thefts have taken place in stores from coast to coast.
Why Tide and why now?
Nobody knows for sure, but the spike likely has nothing to do with laundry.
According to the National Retail Federation, Tide is not a common target of shoplifters. Far more commonly targeted are smaller items like electric toothbrushes and razor blades, the federation says, which makes sense, as even the smallest bottle of liquid Tide would be hard to conceal under a coat.
But if Tide theft keeps increasing, observers who track the trends in retail theft might have to start asking why and digging deeper.
Some estimates blame shoplifting for $15 to $30 billion lost by companies every year, which translates to serious consequences if you face shoplifting charges.
In Maryland, those facing shoplifting charges involving less than $100 in merchandise could find themselves facing a misdemeanor, which will go on the criminal record if convicted. Go above that $100 amount, however, and penalties could be more severe, including significant jail time.
As Timothy B. Wheeler reports for the Baltimore Sun, a study published by the Landscape and Urban Planning Journal indicates that trees can have an impact on crime levels in a neighborhood. In fact, a 10 percent bump in leafy greens correlates with a 12 percent decline in crime.
Trees are said to deter crimes like burglary because they get neighbors out on the steps, in the shade, out and about with an eye on the neighborhood. In other words, would-be defendants have to contend with more eyewitnesses in tree-filled ‘hoods.
“It stands to reason because a shade tree allows you to sit out on your steps and be more neighborly and watch out for the community,” said the representative of the forestry board in Baltimore, as Wheeler reports.
Perception that a neighborhood is cared for also plays a role. Trees convey that cared-for quality, unlike completely barren neighborhoods, which is like a broken window that goes unrepaired. That broken window encourages more crime, according to the researchers.
If you are facing criminal charges, contact a criminal lawyer in Baltimore before you talk to police or anyone else.
Source: Trees linked to less crime, research finds
As Andrea F. Siegel reports for the Baltimore Sun, the scooters on the streets of Annapolis, Maryland, are hot targets for theft.
Those accused of thieving the scooters tend to be young. “A lot of times it is juveniles who are responsible,” Siegel quotes one police officer, “they are looking at it to get from Point A to Point B.”
The problem with scooters – from the point of view of an owner who wants to keep his or her scooter – is how light they are.
Siegel describes a variety of ways in which the lightweight vehicle is swiped, including:
- Two people lifting the scooter high enough to free it from its chain or lock around a short post
- Rolling the scooter right into the back of a truck or van
- Popping the ignition to get the scooter started without a key and driving off with it
Siegel also quotes a 23-year-old cook who had his $1,200 scooter stolen: “It’s really fun to drive, especially on a nice cool day. I use it for work, I use it for pleasure. Well, not anymore.”
Incidentally, even a relatively innocent joyride on someone else’s scooter – perhaps just going from Point A to Point B – can end in felony theft charges, which in Maryland includes theft of property valued at $1,000 or more.
Source: Annapolis motor scooter thefts spike in hot summer months