A congressional hearing on Tuesday will focus heavily on the emergence of organised retail crime amid the year-end Christmas shopping boom.
The Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Law Enforcement, and Intelligence of the House Homeland Security Committee is hosting a hearing with the topic “From Festive Cheer to Retail Fear: Addressing Organised Retail Crime.”
Representatives from the National Retail Federation and Home Depot are anticipated to appear, based on a witness list that Fox News Digital has seen in advance.
On the government side, representatives from Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Homeland Security will testify before Congress.
In a release advertising the hearing, Subcommittee Chair August Pfluger, a Republican from Texas, attributed the troubling trend to “soft-on-crime policies”.
“By putting criminals over communities, families, and small business owners, hardworking Americans across the country are being forced to pay the financial and emotional costs of these failed policies,” Pfluger said.
“Amid an unprecedented spike in retail crime, reports also suggest many professional shoplifters or boosters are part of a much larger organization of criminals — including transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) that are taking advantage of our open borders,” he added.
The lead Democrat on the panel, Rep. Seth Magaziner, D-R.I., stated in a statement that “organised retail crime endangers small businesses, workers, and consumers.”
It coincides with growing problems with retail theft in major cities like New York City and Washington, D.C.
To prevent products from being stolen off the shelves, large chain stores in those cities, including CVS and others, have been compelled to lock up items behind plastic barriers.
According to a recent National Retail Federation poll, 70% of businesses think that organised retail theft has increased in frequency over the past few years.