Issaquah City Council passes two new ordinances to curb theft

In the last half of 2021, there were 1,000 abandoned shopping carts from 13 stores.

After seeing large rates of shoplifting at the end of 2021, the Issaquah City Council passed two new ordinances at their meeting on Jan. 18 to reduce theft. Since passing the ordinances that went into effect immediately, the QFC and Target stores on Gilman Boulevard have installed solar-powered security cameras.

The two ordinances consist of a shopping cart ordinance, and an ordinance revoking or suspending business licenses. In short, stores could face fines if they cannot keep track of their shopping carts, and businesses can lose their licenses to operate if they refuse to report a crime.

Shopping cart ordinance

During the last six months of 2021, according to the ordinance proposal, 1,000 shopping carts were stolen from 13 stores in Issaquah.

“Over the last half of 2021, the number of abandoned shopping carts across the city has drastically increased,” stated the proposal. “Shopping carts that are removed from the premises of a business and left abandoned on public or private property throughout the city can create conditions of blight in the community; obstruct free access to sidewalks, streets and other rights-of-way; interfere with pedestrian and vehicular traffic on pathways, driveways, public and private streets; impede emergency services; or pose other dangers.”

Per the ordinance, businesses are responsible for the containment and retrieval of shopping carts. For the last half of 2021, Code Enforcement handled 50 to 100 abandoned shopping carts per week, most of which were located across from the Sound Transit Center in Issaquah.

The city will continue to respond to reports of abandoned shopping carts, but after the third reported incident, businesses will be required to submit a formal containment and retrieval plan to the city. After the third report, the city will charge a fee to return shopping carts.

Businesses that have 15 or fewer shopping carts are exempt from this ordinance.

Revocation or suspension of business license

The revocation or suspension of a business license is an amendment of Section 5.02.090 of the Issaquah Municipal Code. The ordinance was enacted in case businesses become the site of ongoing illegal activity with a failure to prevent and report to law enforcement.

A revocation or suspension of a business license will take place when:

  • Necessary to protect public health, safety, peace, and welfare.
  • A business operates in a manner contrary to protect public health, safety, peace, and welfare.
  • A business allowed or failed to prevent and report unlawful criminal activity at a business to law enforcement.
  • A business failed to prevent or allowed the business to become an instrument of or a cover for public disorder, crime, unlawful activities, or other dangers pertaining to public safety, peace, morals, and health.

To learn more about crime prevention at business listen to Issaquah interim Police Chief Paula Schwan’s public service announcement at

Target on Gilman Boulevard installed solar powered security cameras to assist with curbing theft. Photo by: William Shaw/Sound Publishing