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Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg announced the launch of the new “Manhattan Small Business Alliance” to reduce shoplifting and commercial robberies in partnership with small business leaders in every neighborhood of Manhattan. 

Comprised of local business owners, Business Improvement District (“BID”) directors, members of law enforcement, and social service providers, the Alliance will meet regularly to analyze and review data, draft recommendations, and develop solutions. Additionally, the Alliance will host a series of focus groups with different types of small businesses, and businesses in specific geographic areas (e.g., Chinatown) to ensure that a diversity of perspectives inform the Alliance’s recommendations. Members of the D.A.’s Office, as well as Chauncey Parker, NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Community Partnerships, will serve as a law enforcement representatives on the Alliance.

The Alliance will first meet in February, and expects to finalize its recommendations in May.

“Our borough’s small businesses are what make Manhattan so special, and I look forward to collaborating closely with our vibrant small business community to develop real solutions to the long-standing public safety issues they face,” D.A. Bragg said. “We’re going to rely on data to target our efforts and we will listen to the voices of small business owners from every corner of Manhattan.

“For our economy to thrive, business owners, workers, and customers must feel safe. My office will not tolerate violence directed at anyone. We also know that poverty, substance use disorders, and mental illness are contributing factors in many property crimes and quality of life offenses. My team is eager to work with the business community, as well as social service providers and other government agencies, to develop solutions that will benefit small businesses by breaking the cycle of recidivism and arrests.”

Shoplifting and commercial robberies have plagued Manhattan businesses for many years. Manhattan business leaders welcomed D.A. Bragg’s commitment to partnering with them to face these challenges head-on.

Ken Giddon, owner of Rothmans Men’s Clothing and Co-Chair of the Alliance said, “The formation of the DA’s task force is a great first step in working to make Manhattan safer for retailers, small businesses and their employees. We will listen to the wide range of perspectives on our committee, and ultimately come up with a plan to reduce shoplifting and commercial robberies in the borough.”

Barbara Askins, President and CEO, 125th Street Business Improvement District and Co-Chair of the Alliance said, “A partnership with diverse groups and the Manhattan DA’s office is a step in the right direction to develop solutions to reduce shoplifting and commercial robberies. Finding a solution will not be easy as many are reluctant to report shoplifting for a number of reasons – one being they understanding that there is a need for a better solution than incarceration. On the other hand, the high level of repeated shoplifting incidents can no longer be allowed to continue. Happy for the opportunity to serve on this Alliance.”  

“I am pleased to take part of the Small Business Task Force, said Raymond Tsang, President, Hoy Sun Ning Yung Benevolent Association & President-elect of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association. “The businesses in the area have been hit hard by both the pandemic and safety issues, which I hope this task force will be able to address. In attending monthly meetings in the community with various business owners, I hope to be able to address their daily concerns in running their businesses. I sincerely thank DA Bragg for putting together this taskforce to better connect with the community.”

“A defined vision and leadership is demonstrated for all to see as our New York County District Attorney reaches out to those who are most impacted and seldom invited to be at the table,” said Lloyd Williams, President and CEO, The Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce.

“The Garment District Alliance looks forward to serving on the Small Business Alliance,” said Barbara A. Blair, President, Garment District Alliance. “Nothing is more important to the city than safety. Representing a central business district in Manhattan with commercial and retail tenants, the overarching purpose of our organization is to ensure the livability of the neighborhood for all who live, work or do business here. We look forward to identifying challenges and collaborating with the District Attorney’s office to identify solutions that ensure safety and equity for all our businesses and citizens.”

“I am pleased to participate in the Small Business Task Force, said Joel Cooperman, CEO & President, CASES (Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services). “It is essential that the business community and service providers come together to address these issues. I believe that CASES experience working in the criminal legal system will be important to the conversations and work of the Task Force and under the leadership of DA Bragg we will work together to develop creative solutions.”

“Exodus Transitional Community, a Harlem-based preventative, reentry and advocacy organization, is honored to be a member of the Small Business Alliance,” said Kandra Clark, VP of Policy & Strategy for Exodus. “We are excited to see the opportunities for our justice-impacted loved ones that arise from this task force. As an organization led and operated by justice-impacted people, we know all too well the challenges men and women face that lead to shoplifting and commercial robberies in the borough of Manhattan. We also know that providing people with employment and vocational opportunities helps to end the intergenerational cycles of poverty and mass incarceration. We look forward to working alongside business owners, BID directors, law enforcement and service providers to help all members of our communities heal and receive the investments and services they need to be successful for themselves, their families and our society at large.”

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