Date: March 10, 2016


BOSTON (March 10, 2016): The following statement may be
attributed to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Massachusetts’s
state director, Bill Vernon regarding the state Senate voting to increase the
felony threshold in larceny crimes from $250 to $1500.

The Senate voted to
increase the threshold for shoplifting, larceny, use of a fraudulent credit
card, receiving stolen property, and destruction of personal property. In
effect, the bill would make the theft of anything under the new threshold a
mere misdemeanor. Massachusetts retailers currently lose $750 million annually
due to theft and consumers pay higher prices as a result. Any proceeds from
these low risk, high reward crimes fund other crimes like drug trafficking and
arms dealing. Shop lifting is not a victimless crime; it is serious and often
part of an organized effort. But if the evidence of organized crime is
difficult to establish, law enforcement must rely on the criminal statutes that
were lessened on the Senate floor today.” 

The new felony
threshold of $1500 makes Massachusetts an outlier in the region. New York and
New England states (except Rhode Island) have thresholds of $1000 or less.
Small businesses cannot afford to send a message that shoplifting or credit
card fraud are not serious crimes. Small business owners have enough problems
trying to make ends meet.

Small business owners
do not want to loosen the laws against property crimes. Consumers do not want
to pay the costs of business losses from property crimes. And society does not
want to assume the risk of more violent crimes funded by deemphasizing the
seriousness of property crimes. 

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