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DC Retailers Tighten Security as Shoplifting Wave Engulfs Capital



Clear Facts

  • In response to a surge in thefts in Washington, D.C., Harris Teeter has implemented new policies aimed at deterring shoplifters.
  • These measures include showing receipts before exiting and restricting certain types of bags like oversized backpacks and large duffels.
  • Other establishments in D.C. have also employed similar measures due to rising retail theft.

In an effort to combat a rising wave of theft in Washington, D.C., the well-known grocery store chain Harris Teeter has enacted new policies designed to deter potential shoplifters. The changes, initiated on Wednesday, necessitate that customers present their receipts before exiting the establishment.

“Harris Teeter is committed to providing the highest quality, freshest products to all customers in the communities we serve. Ensuring a safe shopping environment for both our customers and our valued associates is critical,” the company stated.

Additionally, the store has imposed restrictions on certain types of bags. Oversized backpacks, large duffels, and suitcases are no longer allowed inside Harris Teeter stores in D.C.

“These measures will help us maintain a safe shopping experience and continue providing the best service and goods at competitive prices to our customers. We thank our valued associates and customers for their cooperation and patience,” the company further clarified.

This increasing trend of retail theft is not confined to Harris Teeter. Other prominent businesses in the District have also been compelled to implement new security measures.

For instance, a Safeway store in the Columbia Heights neighborhood installed new safety gates in February following an incident where three suspects vandalized an ATM within the store and absconded with the cash. A CVS Pharmacy in the same vicinity had to close due to repeated retail theft incidents, resulting in a significant local outcry.

In September 2023, supermarket chain Giant made the decision to stop selling certain brands at various D.C. locations after reporting half a million dollars in losses due to theft.

The wider image of theft in D.C. is concerning. In 2023, the police had recorded 13,000 incidents, not including vehicle theft or thefts from vehicles. This number represents a significant 23% increase over the previous year.

In response to this expanding wave of crime, the Secure DC Omnibus Amendment Act of 2024 was passed by the city council in March, with a 12-1 vote. The Act includes over 100 proposals to fight crime, entailing stricter penalties for gun violence and new punishments for organized retail theft. Mayor Muriel Bowser officially signed this crime bill into law on March 11.

Despite these disconcerting statistics, Mayor Bowser defended the city’s reputation in a recent interview, stating that crime has been on a downward trend in D.C. this year. She cited a 17-percent decrease in violent crime and a 12-percent reduction in overall crime, according to police data.


This report was made possible with contributions from Kristine Parks and Gabriel Hays.

Let us know what you think, please share your thoughts in the comments below.




  1. GomeznSA

    April 30, 2024 at 6:37 am

    Hey the local ‘residents’ are simply trying to live down to the ‘standards’ being set by CONgress, give them a break.

    • Herta Choquet

      April 30, 2024 at 10:58 am

      I think the time has come to raise OUR standards.

  2. Cynthia Brown

    April 30, 2024 at 6:41 am

    We all knew self checkout defending police no bail and out of jail with no consequences would embolden theives so now you have sky high theft brilliant

  3. John Stuczynski

    April 30, 2024 at 12:42 pm

    Ever since I got my Costco membership, you have always had to show your cash register receipt when leaving the store. All stores should implement this policy. Also have one door to enter and one door to exit. These simple changes would save the retail industry billions.

  4. the traveller

    April 30, 2024 at 4:20 pm

    If they had to show receipts at Wal Mart front door, there would be four separate lines, and Wal Mart doesn’t WANT to hire any more people to check receipts, as holding up the line to look at both receipts and what is in the cart would impede shoppers coming in the front door. To Wal Mart, profit is what counts. They can bawl and squawl all they want about shoplifting, but until they undertake PROPER methods of prevention, shoplifting will continue. This is just a baby step from another store. Hope it catches on, but Wal Mart will just go on as they always do, complaining about theft, but doing nothing about it. I would welcome a little inconvenience while going out the door, as I know they would be “trying” to take care of the problem.

  5. Wyatt Earp

    May 5, 2024 at 7:01 am

    Bower still claiming things which is nothing but words salad! Just like all democrat mayor and governor lying has become their only answer to problem THEY CREATED!

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