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New York moves to protect retail workers from assault


Photo: SDI Productions/gettyimages

Albany, NY — Assaulting a retail worker is now a felony in New York state, under a new law signed May 1.

Part of the state’s fiscal year 2025 budget bill signed by Gov. Kathy Hochul (D), the law is aimed at fighting organized retail theft. It features a five-point plan, which includes increasing criminal penalties for anyone convicted of causing physical harm to a retail worker performing their job.

According to a press release from Hochul’s office, data shows a “significant spike” in organized retail theft cases over the past six years. In New York City, larceny offenses rose 51% from 2017 to 2023. Robberies, grand larceny and petit larceny in the city jumped 86% over that time.

“I promised the retail workers and our small business owners that I would protect them, and we are doing just that,” Hochul said in the release. “Here in New York, we are … backing our businesses and their workers with the full force of the law and restoring that sense of security and peace of mind so they can focus on what they do best.”

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