Yesterday Ellis Conklin published to The Daily Weekly about the uptick in booze thefts that's come along with Washington's dip into liquor privatization. While it's an unfortunate byproduct, it's not like retailers weren't warned about the possibility in advance.
"You can look at his two ways: It's [privatization] not working, or it's going through a transition. And I think people thought it was going to be a lot easier a transition then its turned out to be," assistant Seattle City Attorney Sumeer Singla told the Daily Weekly.
What's happening in Seattle and region-wide, ever since Washington state had its last call five months ago and got of the booze biz, would have been enough to have even kept old Joe Kennedy on the sidelines.
"In the first three months, it was anywhere from $30,000 up to $50,000 [in liquor thefts]," Jana Jorgensen in the Seattle City Attorney's office told KIRO Radio's Chris Sullivan. "Now I'm hearing it can be from $500 to $1,000 a day just walking out of the store." And that's at multiple stores all over Puget Sound.
King County prosecutors, meanwhile, are drowning in cases, too numerous to prosecute, while managers at the big stores rub their hands together and wonder if they might have to move the high-end whiskey and vodka behind their service counter -- as at least one Albertson's had done -- or perhaps lock it up like they do the cigarettes.
Said Singla: "We tried to let the retailers know in the beginning, back when they were first applying for licenses, that security might be an issue."
The post inspired feedback from at least one Daily Weekly commenter who has ideas about how to fix the problem.
Commenter jamie_boudreau writes:
This could be thwarted somewhat but for the stupid 10,000 square foot law. If smaller stores were allowed to sell booze, and you weren't allowed to sell anything else but booze and booze related items, and we treated these stores like bars (no minors allowed and a doorman present) the likelihood of theft is greatly reduced. The bonus is more knowledgeable staff, greater security/safety and better quality selection. But no, we had to sell our liquor system to the first big box store who had the money to change laws. And now booze is sold by unknowledgeable staff, in barely supervised conditions in monster stores with ample opportunity for minors to hide and steal said bottles.