⚠ Inventory shrink crime is now a major crisis for NJ retail stores
⚠ Ever since the pandemic, retail theft has exploded
⚠ Companies are using surveillance and other tech to stop stealing

It’s gone from a problem to a crisis in New Jersey.

Retail stores in the Garden State may have lost more than $2 billion last year because of shoplifting, commonly referred to as inventory shrink, and businesses are now taking a variety of steps to try and stop combat the issue.

According to John Holub, the president of the New Jersey Retail Merchants Association, this type of theft has exploded over the past couple of years “and it’s highly organized, highly sophisticated criminal enterprises that are really going after retailers and a lot of it has to do with the ease of, when you steal a product you can resell it online.”

This has got to stop

He said to crack down on inventory shrink, stores are taking different approaches.

“They definitely are investing a lot of money in some new technologies, everything from surveillance in stores to theft deterrents. Unfortunately, we don’t like locking up products but you do see more and more of that.”

He said state-of-the-art anti-theft technology is also being used.

In some instances, power tools have to be activated after purchasing, meaning that if it is stolen it will not function.

He pointed out in some instances retail theft has also been linked to terrorism.

“It’s because this is very profitable," he said.

He said in some cases the sheer volume of theft is astounding.

“We’ve had some busts where you would walk into their warehouse and you thought it was a major retailer’s warehouse. They had computer systems, they were inventorying the products and turning around and selling them online,” he said.

NJ is a retail theft hotbed

New York and Philadelphia are considered hotbeds of retail theft activity, so this is also the case for New Jersey because we are sandwiched right in the middle of the action.

According to the National Retail Federation inventory shrink has become an almost $100 billion problem.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at david.matthau@townsquaremedia.com

Click here to contact an editor about feedback or a correction for this story.

LOOK: These Are the 50 biggest retailers in America

Stacker compiled a list of the 50 biggest retailers in the country, using retail sales data from Kantar, provided by the National Retail Federation.

How much does the average NJ home cost? Median prices by county

Everything is costing more these days — and housing is certainly no exception in New Jersey.

Data for 2022 from January through August, compiled by New Jersey Realtors, shows that South Jersey has been seeing homes hit the market and sell in less than a month, on average.

Median prices for single-family homes have reached $500,000 and above in nine counties in North and Central Jersey.

All but two counties have seen houses go for more than the list price, on average, this year.

LOOK: Baby names that are illegal around the world

Stacker scoured hundreds of baby name databases and news releases to curate a list of baby names that are illegal somewhere in the world, along with explanations for why they’re banned.

More From New Jersey 101.5 FM