Retail businesses in Seattle will become targets for gang thefts and shoplifters because of budget cuts that will reduce arrests and prosecutions, say experts quoted by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. In unincorporated King County, property crimes in which the dollar loss is under $10,000 will not be investigated. If a criminal steals $9,999 worth of stuff from a home or business in an unincorporated area nd isn’t caught red-handed, the sheriff won’t assign a detective. Paul Jones of the Arlington, Va.-based Retail Industry Leaders Association, says, “It’s going to lure criminals to that area.”
In another change, thefts involving under $1,000 are now handled as misdemeanors, even though the felony threshold is $250 by state law. Prosecuting Attorney Don Satterberg said, “We have applied an inflation factor to our standards.” As for the retail businesses that may see increased thefts, there’s always insurance.