The East Coast grocery store Giant Food must ramp up its security and put more items under lock and key since theft and violence have increased "exponentially" in the last few years, according to company president Ira Kress.
"To say [theft has] risen tenfold in the last five years would not be an understatement," Kress told the Washington Post. "The last thing I want to do is close stores. But I've got to be able to run them safely and profitably."
Following new security protocols, Giant Food's 165 supermarkets—which span across Washington, D.C., Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia—have limited self-checkout to 20 items, posted security guards at the door, and put items such as razor blades in wall dispensers that alert employees when the items are removed.
Rampant crime combined with rising inflation rates and employee shortages have forced dozens of retailers to close their doors in major Democrat-run cities. Walmart, Whole Foods, Nike, Kroger, Nordstrom, Old Navy, and Target have announced store closures in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Portland, Philadelphia, Chicago, Atlanta, and Seattle. Organized retail crime increased by an average of 26.5 percent in 2021, according to the National Retail Federation.
"It's laughable for any of our politicians—and I've offered to meet and talk with any of them—to be ignorant to what's going on in their communities, in their jurisdictions, with their constituents," Kress said. "And for politicians to blame businesses … for leaving is embarrassing."
Kress knows his company's new security measures will inconvenience honest shoppers, but "the alternative is worse for customers," he said.
"We used to chase shoplifters," he said. "And you'd get the product back, and nobody would ever fight you. … I didn't worry about somebody pulling a knife or gun on me  years ago."