Are bans on single-use bags aiding shoplifters?
It would seem so, according to a provocative article from the Austin (Texas) American-Statesman.
For environmental reasons, Austin banned single-use bags as of March 1 of this year. Customers are now required to bring their own bags to stores. Retailers and police said in the article that, because of the ban, it is now more difficult to tell the difference between legitimate customers and shoplifters.
“We’re getting a new type of offender that is taking advantage of the system,” Austin Police Officer David Silva, who worked off-duty in March at a local Walmart, said in the article.
Before the ban, someone leaving the store with unbagged items would be suspect, but it happens more frequently now as some customers forget to bring their own bags.
The article said that the Texas Retailers Association, which sued the city of Austin over the bag ban in February, has no hard data about increased thefts in the wake of the measure. In other cities, such as Brownsville, Texas, and Seattle, however, increased theft has been attributed to similar bans.
What’s your experience? Does this come down to a contest between being green and effective LP? I’m interested. Let me know. I'd like to look into this further.