Lawlessness vs. Business In America
In yet another store location that is closed due to lawlessness, the growing trend is to shut down what can’t be protected or can’t be profitably and safely operated. Starbuck’s announced that the coffee shop, located at 55 Monument Circle, will have its last day of operation Thursday, Oct. 27. This is unfortunate but expected. Here is how this was described in my new book:
“We live in a fractured society seemingly going in opposite directions. On one hand, as we have chronicled throughout this text, lawlessness exists in urban areas. Mobs walking into stores, taking what they want. Pedestrians on the streets being brutally and randomly attacked. Shootouts and car jackings in broad daylight.
Yet, at the same time, businesses implement extraordinary precision along with legal and security instruments, policies, and protocols designed to protect business assets, customers, and employees. Having worked in various corporate counsel positions over the years, I am struck by the level of sophistication used to secure assets and people. Companies regularly use Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA), Data Privacy Agreements, Service Level Agreements (SLA), and a host of other requirements within business contracts. These drive precision and protection. Yet, the society around them seems to be going in the opposite direction. Can we reconcile these . . .?”
Honest Answer: No Way to Reconcile…
…”one cannot reconcile how corporations are dotting every “i” and crossing every “t” while cities try to cope with crime and chaos. These distinctions cannot be sustained. Something has to give. In a telling example, in March 2022, Amazon told hundreds of its employees to work at an alternative location after an uptick of violent crime rocked the area around its downtown Seattle office. This will not be the last company to “adjust” its employment practices due to crime, disorder, and chaos.”
These store closings will become more common. Businesses are faced with a double-edged sword—and a stark choice. They can tolerate anarchy and theft. Or they can shut down. If they decide to stay open, they face significant security costs to “guard” their store.
“However, guarding the store comes with its own consequences—beyond the costs of paying for security. Trying to stop shoplifting often results in allegations of racial profiling and/or the threat of lawsuits. Guards who confront shoplifters have been assaulted and threatened. Adding to this mix, paying for security guards that cannot deter or confront is not cost-effective. Paying security guards to watch shoplifters steal is hard to justify. As ridiculous as this sounds, it often is the reality. Getting descriptions of the offenders and their images with security cameras has some value, but this, in turn, is dependent on the police taking the initiative of investigating and making arrests. It also depends on the prosecutor’s cooperation. This is not to be expected—at least in many jurisdictions…”
So what does a prudent store owner, or corporate business executive do? Unfortunately, the answer–increasingly–is to shut down the store. This is most likely to occur in poor areas.
Think of the single mother without a car who has lost access to food, medicine, and other essentials. These are seldom spoken, usually overlooked implications of progressive policies. Policies allegedly seeking to help are often very costly. Poor people are also least able to absorb the costs. Writing for the Wall Street Journal, Jason Riley makes this powerful connection:
“But indulging criminal behavior in the name of ‘social justice’ only helps criminals, who are not representative of all blacks. Public policies that give priority to the interests of lawbreakers only lead to more lawbreaking, and by extension to more economic inequality. Businesses have every incentive to flee these communities and the jobs follow them… Tempting though it may be to blame the social dysfunction in poorer communities on heartless business owners or racists cops, the bigger blame surely lies with public policies that condone counterproductive behavior and make successful businesses much more difficult to operate.”
Connect the Dots…
There is so much that can be done. If we have the courage and commitment to do what we know will work. Check out my new book cited above, and on website for answers to vexing problems: