Recent images from the Los Angeles railyards of a sea of cardboard wreckage, the remnants of thousands of stolen packages, have made national headlines. Union Pacific railroad said criminal rail theft in LA has increased by more than 2.5 times since December 2020. Yet while most media coverage focuses on this third-world scene, little has been made of the consequences for the small business sellers ripped off by this grand theft.
Whether it comes in the form of widescale package theft by criminal enterprises or organized smash-and-grab robberies at brick and mortar stores, theft has become a big problem for small businesses. A new survey finds that nearly all small business owners experienced an increase in theft in 2021.
This isn’t the shoplifting of your parent’s generation. Elaborate criminal networks steal and resell goods at below-market rates on internet marketplaces such as Amazon, Facebook, eBay, and Alibaba. The cost of lost inventory and ensuing cut-rate online competition puts tremendous pressure on small business margins that are already strained by the highest inflation in 40 years and severe supply chain disruptions.Read More