Sen. John Liu announces new theft prevention laws aimed at protecting small business owners in Queens

NY State Sen. John Liu (inset, blue shirt) was joined by representatives from the Flushing BID, Queens Chamber of Commerce and local businesses Friday during his press conference in Main Street in Flushing
Photo by Athena Dawson

 New York State Sen. John Liu (D-16) held a press conference in Flushing today to announce a package of new laws passed to better protect small businesses from retail theft.

Liu, who gave his speech in front of US1 Supermarket, located at 39- 12 Main St., was joined by local business owners and community leaders as he highlighted four new measures designed to support local business owners.

The new laws feature a tax credit program program for small businesses investing in security measures, aggregated larceny charges for recurring thefts, criminal charges for the sale of stolen goods and felony charges for assaulting a store worker.

The tax credit program provides up to $6,000 in tax credit to small businesses that have 50 employees or less and made security related purchases, including cameras, locks and other crime deterring equipment. Companies that have 25 or more employees that incur expenses exceeding $6,000 in crime prevention measures are also eligible for the tax credits. In addition, companies with 25 employees or less are eligible if they spend over $4,000 for equipment. 

Liu announced that over a year-long period, prosecutors can now combine multiple small larceny retail theft charges into a felony grand larceny charge. Additionally, anyone that attacks or injures workers will now be charged with a felony. Liu explained that the new policy should deter repeat offenders from stealing from vulnerable small businesses. The final new measure makes it illegal for shoplifters to re-sell stolen items.  

“This will send a strong message to everyone that we are here to protect our retail workers,” Liu said. “We do not want the retail theft to go on and victimize too many community members, including small business owners and the public at large.”

Liu was also joined by Dian Yu, Executive Director of the Flushing Business Improvement District (BID). According to Yu, this law has been a long time coming, as the community has been rebuilding from the pandemic. “With this law we can finally start to recover and regrow our businesses,” Yu said.

Liu made his stance on protecting small business owners clear to the surrounding community. “Our small business owners continue to provide goods and services to everyone in our community. But at the same time, they have had to fight an incessant amount of retail theft,” Liu said. “It’s time we do something about it.”