Nosy Neighbor: Why are there police cars and officers stationed at Target

B. wrote: “Why is there a police car with lights flashing parked daily in front of the Target at Greenwich & Murray? During the height of the lockdown I assumed they were there to help enforce crowd control and/or mask mandates if needed by the store but this seems more than that.”

The funny thing is I of course walk by there all the time, use Target (grudgingly) all the time and it never seemed odd — till B. mentioned it. Often there are a couple officers inside the store at the top of the elevators as well.

So a note to the NYPD got this response: “There is a fixed post at the location.” That, of course, was noticed by B. already. A follow-up “why” question got this: “Due to a large number of 911 calls for larceny in the vicinity.”

I am assuming that “vicinity” means Target itself, since I don’t think there’s a lot of larceny elsewhere or in other stores nearby — Whole Foods, for instance. (Though WF claims that people stole their shopping carts.) So how does Target get a public-funded security?

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  1. lots of robberies in Target. A homeless woman even walked in naked last month. That is the reason.

  2. While their prices are expensive, shopping at Whole Foods is not really larceny. :-)

  3. If you read the Tribeca Trib police blotter, there are regular reports of people putting thousands of dollars of (usually) cosmetics and toiletries in a bag and walking out. I can’t image how they can carry enough to add up to that, but it seems to be a regular occurrence.

  4. My understanding is that there are dozens of shoplifters caught each month, I have no idea how many more people are getting away with it. It probably is company policy to bring police even if their own staff caught the incident in order to file a formal report. Private security often has its hands tied anyhow, unfortunately

  5. There have been thefts also at Whole Foods, especially in the cosmetics and health and beauty dept. High-end moisturizers and treatments (that easily add up to thousands of dollars) are now kept locked with only samples on the shelves. The manager of the department told me the other day about the thefts when I was looking for my face creams.

  6. For a while, there were also police stationed inside the Duane Reade at Duane & Broadway, also due to frequent shoplifting.

  7. The Walgreens on Broadway and Park Pl had to have police stationed outside too, as homeless and others kept walking away with stolen goods.

  8. What’s this City coming to? Crime everywhere! I’m moving to NJ.

  9. Reading the Police Blotter at Tribeca Trib, it appears Target is the victim of shoplifting several times a week. I’m assuming these peeps are given a ticket, if caught at all, only to return another day.

    • Scrolling through, there are 25 reports from Target since January, with losses ranging from $1100 (never below) to $5200. Note that $1000 is the threshold in New York State for a felony charge; everything below that is a misdemeanor.

  10. Yes, Tribeca Trib’s police blotter is very informative. It’s not only in NYC but all over the country. These are gangs that shoplift. Most are not caught and big box stores might not prosecute at all, it’s not worth it for them. Next time you buy something like a beauty product on eBay or a similar site online it’s most likely shoplifted. So are small electronics. Caveat emptor!

  11. Target should not have police officers
    Manning their store .
    Shoplifting is an issue for all Retail
    Establishments .
    Why should Our local Police
    Precinct favor protecting Target?
    Is this how we as a community
    Want our Police to be spending their time
    By doing the bidding of a Fortune 500 publicly
    Traded Corporation .

  12. So you’re saying it’s wrong for police to station themselves where crimes are being routinely committed. Or are you “woke” enough that shoplifting =reparations?

    • If Target wants police protection on site, it can avail itself of the NYPD’s Paid Detail Unit at is own expense, like Duane Reade has.

      • Typically, when a store or other establishment has police stationed in their store, they are usually off duty officers and they are paying their salary, not the municipality. A lot of officers have off duty side jobs to make extra money and they are able to wear their uniforms and pretty much act in their full legal capacity

        • That may be true, but these are NYPD officers on duty.

          • They are there at taxpayer expense, presumably.

            Target apparently waits until shoplifters have amassed enough thefts to warrant felony charges.


            ” As it turns out, alongside their forensic team and top-of-the-line, in-store facial recognition technology, Target is known for actually letting shoplifters get away with their bounty…up until they reach the monetary threshold for a felony shoplifting charge. This means that while a Walmart LP will stop a shoplifter regardless of whether they’re stealing a $5 DVD or a $500 dollar TV, Target might allow a shoplifter to steal 100 $5 DVDs over time, all while building up a massive, fool-proof felony case against them. And here’s the craziest part––they organize these efforts across stores and even state-lines. Essentially, if you steal at any Target, anywhere in the country, they’re quite possibly building up a case against you.”

  13. How Target Got Cozy With the Cops, Turning Black Neighbors Into Suspects
    Worth a read.