By Taxpayers Association of Oregon Foundation,
Note: Within hours of posting this article this morning, the writer went to Fred Meyer to purchase some last minute holiday items and immediately encountered a shoplifting disruption inside the store by a man yelling and being escorted out by security. Interestingly, the circumstances surrounding the article were verified that very morning.
Facing record levels of theft at its Portland stores over the past year, Fred Meyer has implemented new security measures, so shoppers may be asked to show their receipts before leaving the stores. Fred Meyer President Todd Kammeyer noted the company already works with a third-party security guard service, but to curtail crime and shoplifting, the company plans to hire more security guards (the most it has ever had) and invest in security technology (such as exit alarms, merchandise security tags, and cameras). Customers and employees said they have seen people walk away with carts filled with shoplifted goods.
Over time many Fred Meyer stores have been setting up barriers in their electronics sections so there is only one entrance and exit. This entrance is stationed with an electronic sensor to detect unpurchased electronic equipment. Also, store entrances have been equipped with one-way gates to limit how many exits exist in the store. Television monitors have been placed at the exits to remind shoppers they are being recorded.
Other Portland retailers faced with more shoplifters and increased criminal activity in recent years have closed or relocated away from the downtown area.
Senate Bill 340 passed by the 2023 Legislature adds increased penalties for organized retail theft for people who commit repeated property crimes. The bill allows for a 24-month prison sentence up from current 10 to 11 months.