On Wednesday, January 4, the We Watch, We Prosecute campaign was launched at the Pima County Attorney’s office.
Organized retail theft (shoplifting) costs retailers and honest citizens in Pima County more than $5.9 million a year. A recent study by the National Retail Federation documents that for the first time ever, 100% of retailers say they were victims of organized retail theft in 2016. Organized retail thieves steal to convert the items they steal into cash. Theft is a way of life for them and is costing retailers and citizens of Pima County $5.9 million a year. The Coalition Against Retail Theft (CART) is a program of the Tucson Metro Chamber’s Retail Theft Task Force. CART is an alliance of local law enforcement officials, retailers and prosecutors. The We Watch, We Prosecute campaign will educate retailers, consumers and perpetrators about our community’s intolerance for organized retail theft. We Watch, We Prosecute is a collaborative effort to increase cooperation between retailers, law enforcement and prosecutors to:
- Raise awareness of the retail theft problem
- Increase the tools retailers have to identify thieves
- Convert more misdemeanors into felonies to get organized retail thieves off the street, make our communities safer places to live and lower crime rates
For more information about the Tucson Metro Chamber’s Retail Theft Task Force and CART go to www.tucsonchamber.org/CART.
The next day, Thursday, January 5, the Chamber, several other business groups and the City of Tucson announced the Project Prosperity program to boost local economic expansion. The goal of the Project Prosperity Task Force is to bring public sector and private sector representatives together to help local companies create jobs. The group has collaborated for more than 18 months to find solutions to the concerns often expressed by local businesses. In order to identify specific action steps, the business executives used their own experiences and the views expressed by other businesses to compile a list of seven “action steps” they believed would be worthy of discussion with the City of Tucson. Those steps include:
- Creating more incentives for infill development, including possible infill district
- Improving the permitting and inspection process
- Quantifying business opportunities prior to any required vote by Mayor and Council
- Reviewing the business license application process
- Modernizing the City of Tucson sign code
- Reviewing recent changes to the City of Tucson charter
- Presenting business operations and challenges to public representatives
Collectively it is believed these advancements in public-private interaction will add momentum to a local economy that is currently experiencing significant forward progress. The Project Prosperity process is an excellent example of heightened cooperation between business and local government. Both programs are great ways to start the New Year and to keep the momentum of our local economic expansion going forward. For more information about what the Tucson Metro Chamber is doing to promote a strong local economy and build a better community watch this 90-second video.
Michael V. Varney
President & CEO