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Phoenix police study evaluating economic impact of retail theft

Posted at 4:35 AM, Nov 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-01 10:04:22-04

Phoenix police are partnering with researchers at Arizona State University to evaluate the impact retail crimes have on the economy.

"The many small cases, they all add up," said ASU research economist Eva Madly. 

Two years ago, Madly said a similar study -- looking at two years of retail crime data from the Phoenix Business and Economic Stability Team -- found shoplifters and counterfeiters cost Arizonans around $500,000 in lost tax revenue and 42 jobs. Counterfeiting, Madly said, led to the majority of that loss. 

"It displaces the sale of legitimate goods. It displaces retail employees who, then, don't get paid. They don't spend the money in the local economy," she said. "[These criminals] place an additional burden on taxpayers." 

Madly said among the most counterfeit items are DVDs that "quickly add up", as well as sports jerseys. 

The study is funded through a federal grant. It will run through September of next year.