New law designed to address smash-and-grab thefts

People shouldn’t have to fear for their lives when they go shopping, but that’s become an unfortunate reality in recent years. Smash and grabs have become a popular choice for criminal networks, who break into retail stores, take all the goods they like and resell them online. They then use the profits they make to fund other criminal activities.

As a state senator for suburban Chicago, I couldn’t stand seeing our economies stunted and knowing there was a spillover effect on other crimes.

That’s why I sponsored the Organized Retail Crime Act, in partnership with Illinois Retail Merchants Association and the Office of the Attorney General.

This legislation, which is getting national attention and was signed into law recently, clearly defines organized retail crime, allows prosecutors to go after criminals across jurisdictions, increases law enforcement funding to pursue these crimes and makes it tougher to resell stolen goods.

We must protect our local businesses and create a positive shopping experience for our community members so that our economies can continue to grow and thrive. Let’s be clear: This is not petty theft. Smash and grabs are premeditated and rely on a network of criminals who choose to vandalize our retail shops, steal products and resell them for massive profits.

Criminals have been able to avoid serious penalties because of loopholes in our laws. With more severe penalties for this type of organized crime and increased funding for our law enforcement, we will curb this criminal activity and restore confidence in our communities. — Sen. Suzy Glowiak-Hilton (D-24, Western Springs)