New York City

Duane Reade Hiring Off-Duty NYPD Officers Amid Sharp Spike in Shoplifting

NBCUniversal, Inc.

In an effort to stop would-be thieves striking at an alarming rate so far in 2020, some stores — including one of the city's biggest pharmacies — are resorting to new measures.

Duane Reade is adding off-duty NYPD officers to act as security in their stores, to see if they can curtail some of the shoplifting — or catch some of the perpetrators. The uniformed officers have already been seen at stores in midtown and the Upper East Side, and are provided through the department's paid detail unit.

That system allows vendors, like retail chains, banks and places of worship, to pay an hourly rate for the officers, and pays a 10 percent administrative fee to the city.

The decision to have the officers, who are step up from traditional security, comes as petit larcenies are up 16 percent citywide this year compared to this time in 2019. In particular, midtown north has seen a 20 percent increase, and the Upper East Side has a 70 percent increase in the same time period.

Walgreens, the parent company of Duane Reade, says the measure was done in response to an increase in retail thefts at their stores. Shoppers, meanwhile, hope city leaders have taken notice of the spike.

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