To the Editor,
When stores have to lock up their products because judges can’t lock up the criminals who victimize them over and over again, there’s something seriously wrong. Let’s make it right.
I sponsor legislation in the Senate to strengthen penalties against the hardened criminals engaging in retail crime. My bill (S.7599) would authorize prosecutors and police to upgrade petit larceny charges to fourth degree grand larceny after two convictions within three months, or three convictions within a year.
We need real deterrence and real penalties when it comes to repeat offenders.
This isn’t about preventing a teenager who makes a youthful mistake from earning a second chance. This is about holding convicted criminals accountable when they completely disregard our quality of life and victimize our family businesses with impunity.
This is a bipartisan effort. Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara has introduced companion legislation in the Assembly. We’re working together to generate support in our community and, critically, in Albany with our colleagues in both houses and on both sides of the aisle.
Democrats reading this might be thinking that crime has systemic, root causes that must be mitigated through smart, public investments. I agree with that! That’s why I voted for record school funding, over one billion dollars in local aid for addiction services statewide and why I sponsor legislation strengthening diversionary rehabilitation programs for people who actually want to get their lives back on track.
What I can’t support is giving a slap on the wrist to convicted criminals who are planning their next score before they even walk out of their arraignment. Enough is enough.
Albany County is home to a vibrant economy. Without respect for basic property rights, the entire social fabric frays.
Mark Egan, President and CEO of the Capital Region Chamber, said it best: “Our retail businesses are vital to the well-being of our region, and we cannot allow them to be preyed upon by repeat shoplifters. It is time to send a clear message to those that would steal from our retailers: your days of shoplifting are over.”
State Senate District 43