NYC Supermarkets Add Security Amid Shoplifting Crime Wave

Gristedes/D'Agostino's Supermarkets latest to take extra measures to prevent theft
Marian Zboraj
Digital Editor
Marian Zboraj
Gristedes Joins Allegiance Retail Services Retailer Cooperative Private Label
Gristedes and D'Agostino's Supermarkets are adding nearly 100 security personnel to stores throughout New York City to combat retail theft.

A crime wave in New York City has been making national headlines, and it’s spilling over into food retail, with more grocers reporting retail thefts. Some now are even taking matters into their own hands: John Catsimatidis, chairman and CEO of Gristedes/D'Agostino's Supermarkets, said last week that hes adding extra security measures —nearly 100 security personnel, some from the ranks of retired police officers — to his approximately 30 Gristedes and D’Agostino’s stores throughout the city. 

During the height of the pandemic, some people took advantage of smaller staffs, facial coverings, self-checkout and pandemic stock-ups to steal products, leading to an uptick in shoplifting and an increase in shrinkage. However, even with a decrease in COVID cases, the surge in shoplifting items doesnt seem to be slowing down.

From Jan. 1 through Sept. 12, 2021, the NYPD reported that there were more than 26,000 complaints for shoplifting compared with the same time period in 2020, which was more than 20,000. This is the highest level since the early 1990s.

Many of these retail thefts are being caught on camera in broad daylight. Last month, actor and comedian Michael Rapaport even videoed an alleged thief at Rite Aid passing a store security guard as he walked out the front doors holding bags of stolen loot.

What are these thieves stealing? As meat prices continue to rise, meat items have become a hot ticket item for shoplifters. According to the NY Daily News, to combat meat thefts, Gristedes/D’Agostino’s store managers are putting fewer packaged meat SKUs on store shelves, and replenishing them as needed. Other popular items that are being stolen from these food chains include Tide laundry detergent, soap and ice cream, specifically the smaller containers.

Food retailers in other areas of the country are also stepping up security efforts to prevent in-store crime. For example, Midwestern grocer Hy-Vee recently introduced its Hy-Vee Retail Security team to stores across its eight-state region. Hy-Vee Retail Security officers are present in Hy-Vee stores during operating hours. These officers, many of whom come from a law enforcement background, are specially trained to defuse situations and equipped to protect the safety of both Hy-Vee customers and employees. The officers have been through training designed by Hy-Vee retail security leaders alongside law enforcement partners.

D’Agostino’s  and Gristedes supermarket banners are members of the Allegiance Retail Services LLC cooperative. Meanwhile, employee-owned Hy-Vee operates 285-plus retail stores across eight states. The West Des Moines, Iowa-based company is No. 34 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America

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