MAR. 14, 2016 • BY JON HURST

Maybe crime really does pay. At least it would under legislation recently passed by the Massachusetts Senate which increases the felony threshold contained in a number of our property crime statutes from $250 to $1,500. It allows fraudsters to run up $1,499 in charges on your credit card and thieves to steal or destroy up to $1,499 of your personal property with no risk of receiving meaningful repercussions. It also emboldens professional and sophisticated criminals who treat theft as a low risk, high reward activity due to our already weak criminal laws. It essentially decreases their cost of doing business while increasing the price you pay for consumer goods.

Annually, the Massachusetts retail industry loses an estimated $750 million in stolen merchandise, potentially worth $46.8 million in lost sales tax revenue. A cost shared by you in the form of higher prices—approximately $400 per household. The majority of these losses are attributed to organized crime rings using proceeds to fund other criminal activities including drug trafficking, arms dealing and even terrorism.