The Association of Prosecuting Attorneys Launches Innovative Pilot Program to Address Low-Level Retail Theft and Increase Public Safety
Five Sites Selected to Pilot Intervention Program

Press Contact: 

Association of Prosecuting Attorneys
Marlene Biener

Justice System Partners
Kate Florio

WASHINGTON, D.C. – 07/06/2023 – The Association of Prosecuting Attorneys (APA), in partnership with Justice System Partners (JSP), announced today that they have selected five sites  to pilot a low-level retail theft intervention project. Low level retail theft-which refers to smaller-scale, lower-value shoplifting incidents, has risen in recent years, harming retailers who have been impacted by shrinkage and leading to an increase of arrests.

The five prosecutor offices that have been selected are: East Baton Rouge District Attorney’s Office, LA; 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office (Centennial), CO; Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office, CA; Shelby County District Attorney General’s Office (Memphis), TN; and Columbus City Attorney’s Office, OH.

Many individuals who engage in low-level retail theft do so as a result of unmet mental health needs, substance use and/or co-occurring disorders, or housing or food insecurity. These quality-of-life issues disproportionately affect low-income households and persons of color, which can exacerbate racial and ethnic disparities when these individuals come in contact with the criminal justice system.       

This project will provide prosecutors with a set of tools to identify and address the needs of those who commit low-level retail theft. The goal of this project is to work with prosecutors’ offices and their law enforcement and community partners to determine effective responses that diagnose the underlying causes of low-level theft through working directly with retailers and the communities they serve, increasing public safety and equity. 

The full report can be read [HERE]