Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the self-described Democratic socialist from New York, likes to pride herself on being poignant, relevant, and up on all the latest information about what’s actually taking place in our country.
But very often when she opens her mouth, she proves she doesn’t really have much of a clue about anything, and she did so again last week over comments she made about so-called “smash-and-grab” robberies.
The Washington Times reported:
[Ocasio-Cortez] said in an interview last week … that “a lot of these allegations of organized retail theft are not actually panning out.”
“I believe it’s a Walgreens in California cited it, but the data didn’t back it up,” she said.
She made the claim after scores of videos documented a rash of attacks by rampaging thieves and reports from big-box stores across the country about an uptick in organized retail theft and violence against employees.
Republicans pounded the sophomore ‘Squad’ member.
“I don’t know what data she is talking about,” said Rep. Rodney Davis, Illinois Republican.
“But you don’t really need much data from someplace in San Francisco or California. All you need to do is walk down the street to the CVS in Eastern Market,” he said, making reference to a public market about a mile from the U.S. Capitol. “I’ve seen on multiple occasions when I’ve been in there buying things, someone will come in and raid a shelf and walk out.”
Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) called the New York Democrats’ remarks “tone-deaf and offensive” to the family of Kevin Nishita, an Oakland security guard and former San Jose police officer who was shot and killed last month while defending a news crew that was reporting on a smash-and-grab theft.
AOC also got major pushback from the Retail Industry Leader’s Association.
“Respectfully, the congresswoman has no idea what she is talking about. Both the data and stack of video evidence makes fairly clear that this is a growing problem in need of solutions,” Jason Brewer, senior executive vice president of communications for the trade association, told the Washington Times in an email. “If she is not concerned with organized theft and increasingly violent attacks on retail employees, she should just say that.”
“Organized retail crime is one of the top challenges facing” Walgreens the company told the newspaper, adding that the incidents have “evolved beyond shoplifting and petty theft to the sale of stolen and counterfeit goods online.”
The Times adds:
The retail theft in Walgreens’ San Francisco stores has reached five times the chain average in the past few months. In response, the company increased security spending in the city to 46 times the average for Walgreens locations, the company said.
Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore told reporters Thursday that the wave of organized retail theft began in early November in Chicago, New York and the Bay Area of California and spread to his and other cities.
These crimes, he said, are characterized by multiple people working together to steal merchandise while destroying property and assaulting store employees. Caravans of waiting vehicles park close to high-end retail stores, he said.
“From Nov. 18 to the 28th, the city of Los Angeles had 11 of those types of crimes involving similar [methods] where groups of suspects, working in tandem, worked to steal from high-end clothing stores, often using weapons and physical force to overwhelm and intimidate store employees and other patrons,” said Moore.
According to the National Retail Federation, smash-and-grab crimes are costing retailers $719,548 per $1 billion in sales, and in fact, the organization says that 2021 is the fifth straight year the cost of such robberies has topped the $700,000 mark.
All of which makes AOC’s remark the retail equivalent of Squad member Ilhan Omar’s comment that “some people did something” on 9/11.