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Crime and Safety Concerns Accompany the Expansion of Dollar Stores Across the US

Breaking down the rise in retail theft nationwide

Breaking down the rise in retail theft nationwide


Greenback shops are one of many vivid spots in America’s ailing brick-and-mortar retail business: These low cost retailers will signify one-third of all new retailer openings within the U.S. this yr. Their ubiquity, nonetheless, is prompting questions on their low-cost operations, influence on communities and employee security. 

The shops, which promote objects for $1 every or barely greater, present communities with much-needed low cost merchandise, starting from family staples like groceries to Halloween decorations. However employees and labor advocates are more and more warning that a budget objects come at a value for his or her communities. 

A few of these points have been raised after final month’s racially motivated assault at a Jacksonville, Florida-based Greenback Common retailer, when a White man killed a 19-year-old worker and two clients. All three victims have been Black. The gunman took his personal life. The incident occurred after the attacker had earlier pushed to a Household Greenback retailer, in accordance with Jacksonville Sheriff T.Okay. Waters, who famous that the person had beforehand labored at a Greenback Tree.

Legislation enforcement investigates a taking pictures at a Palmdale Greenback Common retailer


The shooter could have focused greenback shops as a result of “it does not seem that he wished to face anybody who would trigger him points,” stated Waters stated in a press convention final month.

Straightforward targets

Many greenback shops are sparsely staffed, typically with solely a single employee manning the register, and lack safety guards or staffers at entrances, in accordance with employees and specialists. Because of this, the shops have gained a repute for being straightforward targets for  criminals who consider they will “simply stroll in and get cash from the money register,” stated Kennedy Smith, a researcher on the Institute for Native Self-Reliance, at a panel about greenback shops earlier this yr. 

“I do know a number of assistant managers, together with myself, that any given Sunday, you have been alone,” former Greenback Common worker Kenya Slaughter, who labored for the retailer for greater than 4 years and now organizes low cost retailer employees for labor advocacy group Step Up Louisiana, advised CBS MoneyWatch. “Nobody ought to be within the retailer alone.”

Working for Greenback Common was usually “chaotic,” Slaughter stated, including that whereas she was by no means robbed, she confronted points like clients preventing within the retailer and utilizing medicine, in addition to theft. “This can be a billion-dollar firm that might afford extra safety.”

Greenback Common on September 4 stated it’ll donate $2.5 million to native charities and employee aid efforts in wake of the Jacksonville taking pictures. In a response to CBS MoneyWatch, the corporate famous that there could also be instances throughout the day “when our shops have single protection.”

“Nonetheless, our insurance policies and procedures require the presence of a number of associates at sure instances of day, together with at closing,” it stated.

Greenback Tree did not return a request for remark. 

Greenback Common and rival Greenback Tree, which operates the Greenback Retailer and Household Greenback chains, notched a mixed $33.7 billion in gross sales throughout the first six months of 2023. Each chains are worthwhile, with Greenback Common incomes virtually $1 billion by the primary half of the yr, and Greenback Tree incomes $740 million. Greenback shops are benefiting as extra clients search bargains after a bruising yr of excessive inflation, analysts word.

In 2023, Greenback Common is slated to open 1,009 new shops, essentially the most of any U.S. retailer, in accordance retail knowledge supplier Coresight. Greenback Tree plans to open one other 636 shops, that means that the 2 chains mixed will signify about one-third of all new retailer openings within the U.S. this yr.

Enhance in thefts

About 84% of Greenback Common employees earn $14 or much less per hour, in accordance with an evaluation from the left-leaning Financial Coverage Institute. Staff and labor advocates have been pushing for higher pay and safety, with one Household Greenback worker, Neil Orgeron, noting that he is began carrying a pocket knife due to his security issues. 

“It is even tougher to pay lease on time with the small amount of cash they provide us, together with not having the property safety in our shops,” he stated on the panel about working circumstances at greenback shops earlier this yr.

To make sure, rising crime is a matter impacting all retailers, not simply greenback shops, famous Neil Saunders, a retail analyst at World Information. As an example, Goal’s CEO earlier this yr famous that “violent” incidents are on the rise at its shops, in addition to a rise in theft.

However budget-friendly retailers are sometimes “a selected goal for crime as they’re usually staffed by just one or two individuals, so could be criminals really feel they are a softer goal,” Saunders stated. “Working alone, particularly late within the night, at a rural retailer just isn’t one thing many will really feel totally snug with.”

150 gun deaths

Between 2014 and 2021, greater than 150 individuals have been killed by weapons at greenback shops, whereas one other 329 injured, in accordance with the Institute for Native Self-Reliance, citing knowledge from the Gun Violence Archive. 

Extra gun deaths and accidents have occurred since 2021 at greenback retailer areas. In August alone, seven individuals died in gun violence at greenback retailer areas, together with the three deaths on the Greenback Common in Jacksonville, Florida, in accordance with the Gun Violence Archive. 

Different individuals have been injured resulting from gun violence at low cost shops, together with in a Greenback Common taking pictures in Palmdale, California, final month. Additionally in August, two individuals have been shot Walmart areas, although there have been no gun-related deaths, the database exhibits.

“After all, the very fact there are such a lot of greenback shops throughout the nation signifies that robberies at them is disproportionate,” famous Saunders of World Information. 

Surveillance video exhibits Jacksonville gunman’s whereabouts, actions main as much as racist assault


Advocates are pressuring greenback shops to take a position extra of their employees and safety. Shareholders in Might accepted a measure to create an unbiased audit of employee security and well-being. However Saunders famous that Greenback Common could not wish to spend an excessive amount of resulting from to monetary issues.

“Greenback Common may do a couple of extra issues, however it isn’t going to dig too deep in the mean time as income are below stress and it will not wish to take the hit to the underside line,” he stated.

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