Think twice before you decide to assault a retail worker in New York State. We have all seen videos of retail employees being assaulted for various reasons. Putting your hands on a retail worker now could earn you a prison sentence and mess up your life.

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In Governor Kathy Hochul's 2024-2025 Fiscal Year Executive Budget, there is a new provision to protect retail workers, who are often the targets of violent crimes. The new law is designed to crack down on organized retail thefts and crimes against those people working in retail. New York State Governor Kathy Hochul said,

“I promised to fight the scourge of organized retail theft -- and in this budget, we got it done. Sophisticated organized retail theft operations are putting frontline retail workers at risk and reselling stolen goods on online marketplaces, and we're taking new steps to end this chaos.”

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Gov. Hochul announced a five-point plan to combat retail crimes:

- Assaulting a retail employee will result in a felony charge.

- Prosecutors can combine the value of stolen goods when filing felony charges against criminals, including from different stores.

- Making it illegal to foster the sale of stolen goods. Prosecutors can go after third-party sellers.

- $40.2 million for State Police, District Attorneys’ offices, and local law enforcement, to go after retail theft criminals.

- $5 million in tax credits to help small businesses invest in security measures to fight retail theft.

New York State Police Superintendent Steven G. James said, “We will continue to leverage our law enforcement partnerships to further ongoing efforts to prevent thieves from targeting the hard-working citizens of New York. The State Police is fully engaged on this issue and will not tolerate individuals responsible for stealing millions of dollars in merchandise, victimizing both retailers and the public. I thank Governor Hochul for her continued support, and the New York State Police stands ready to commit the resources necessary to ensure the success of this initiative.”

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Gallery Credit: Will Phillips