Rampant theft: As homelessness and crime continue to increase in the city of Santa Fe, local stores are losing serious money on shopping chart thieves. In the city of Santa Fe, local stores are losing serious money on shopping chart thieves.
Jeremy Montoya, a store manager at Albertson’s Market and Nagisa Suzuki, store manager at La Montanita Co-op say shopping cart thefts have increased dramatically over the past few years.
Shopping carts can cost anywhere from $100 to $150 each, with some going as high as $400, depending on the design, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican.
Suzuki said they pay a cart retrieval company – yet still has to order a new fleet of carts “every few months.”
Montoya said his store is close to a strong of low-rent motels, and often sees people hauling their purchases or homeless carrying their possessions in the stores’ carts.
The city’s “solution”?: City officials say they need to “do something”. In a bizarre abdication of responsibility, the city is proposing to fine the stores for not being able to stop rampant crime on their property.
The law’s sponsors, Mayor Alan Webber and City Councilor Carol Romero-Wirth, hope that by threatening retailers with $150 fine for every cart the city picks up and forcing businesses to improve “security measures” to keep the carts on their property, the city won’t have to enforce laws against stealing.
The City Clerk said the store-punishment system is “experimental”, even though its modelled on other cities with high crime. She even admits that, “if someone wants to take a grocery cart, they will find a way,” while Romero-Wirth agreed the proposal isn’t perfect, but “something needed to be done.”
Victims’ POV: Meanwhile, the victims of the thefts have a better solution. “I think better thing is maybe just call us so we can pick them up, said Montoya, desperately pleading, “We try so hard, and it is kind of out of our control."
The law could cripple these businesses with possibly tens of thousands of dollars in fines every few months.
Suzuki agrees that the city’s plan is awful, “There are probably other ways to see some positive impact for businesses who have these carts taken,” she said of the bill.