Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody (R) and other Florida lawmakers joined forces this week to confront the rise of organized retail theft in the Sunshine State. The lawmakers vowed to address smash-and-grab robberies that have surged in recent weeks.
At a press conference in Hialeah, Moody said that “we’ve seen the damage and disorder caused by brazen criminals across the country through terrifying smash-and-grab robberies, and we must continue to innovate to stay ahead of this national crime trend.’
Several states have faced smash-and-grab robberies these last few months, and December saw Moody create the Florida Organized Retail Crime Exchange (FORCE).
In a press release after creating the task force, Moody shared that “70% of store owners nationwide report an increase in crime over the past year.”
Specifically, in Florida, Moody commented that “we are seeing lawlessness and out-of-control mobs preying on businesses and consumers in major cities outside of Florida, and we will not allow these crime sprees to harm Floridians or our retailers.”
Scott Shalley, the President of the Florida Retail Federation, praised the effort, noting that “organized retail crime has increased significantly over the last two years.” “Criminal gangs are stealing hundreds, thousands and sometimes millions of dollars of merchandise and they’re threatening the safety of our communities.”
State Senators Ileana Garcia (R) and Manny Diaz (R) were also in attendance, and both agreed to assist Moody and prosecutors combat smash-and-grab robberies.
The FORCE task force is “a statewide task force and an interactive database bridging together law enforcement, prosecutors, and retailers in an effort to share information on retail crime throughout the state and stop these criminals before they cause more harm” according to Moody.