Governor Newsom Calls for Legislation to Crack Down on Organized Retail Crime
Governor Newsom has called for new laws to expand penalties on professional thieves and crackdown on property crime.
The potential laws hope to work with regional police departments and prosecutor's offices to combat smash and grabs, retail theft, and burglary.
What are the Details?
Over the past few years, organized retail theft has risen in Los Angeles County and the rest of California. As a result, cities and counties have launched task forces focused directly on that type of crime, and increased penalties for those involved.
While the State of California has assisted with helping regional organized crime, this is the first time Newsom has proposed creating new laws to crack down on the issue.
Newsom’s plan will build on his Public Safety Plan, which aims to strengthen law enforcement and get rid of illegal firearms and drugs from California streets.
So what is in the Governor’s framework?
The six major points the Governor wants to tackle in new laws include:
- Cracking Down on Professional Thieves: Creates new penalties (including felony and prison time) targeting those involved in retail theft with the intent to resell, and those that sell stolen property.
- Increasing Enforcement Tools: Bolsters existing laws to police ensure can arrest suspects of retail theft, even if they didn’t witness a crime in progress.
- Aggregating Theft Amounts: Clarifies that the penal code allows law enforcement to combine the value of multiple thefts — even across different victims — to reach the threshold for grand theft.
- Fighting Auto Burglary: Creates new penalties for professional auto burglary, increasing penalties for the possession of items stolen from a vehicle with intent to resell, regardless of whether the vehicle was locked.
- Eliminating ORC Sunset Provision: Eliminates the sunset date for the organized retail crime statute. The law, which has been effectively used by CHP and others in the Organized Retail Crime Task Force, is set to expire on January 1, 2026.
- Increasing Penalties for Resellers: Explores strengthening the law to increase penalties for large-scale resellers of stolen goods.
How Does it Impact You?
While organized retail crime has affected all of Los Angeles, it has had a disproportionate impact on commercial centers, many of which are home to many retail stores.
As a result of this, stores are losing an estimated $700,000 per $1 billion in sales. The Governor’s proposed framework would help protect commercial real estate and punish those suspected of committing organized retail crime.
To learn more about the Governor’s proposal, click here.
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