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Assembly Public Safety Leaders Announce Critical Retail Theft Study Authorized by Nonpartisan, Little Hoover Commission

For immediate release:

(Sacramento) Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-South Los Angeles), Chair of Assembly Public Safety Committee, and Assemblymember Juan Alanis (R-Modesto), Vice Chair of Assembly Public Safety Committee, announce that the Little Hoover Commission, an independent state oversight agency, has authorized the Assemblymembers’ request to investigate retail theft, shoplifting, and organized retail theft in California.

“I am proud to have led the charge with my Assembly Public Safety Committee Vice Chair, Assemblymember Juan Alanis, in calling on the Little Hoover Commission to conduct a statistical report on retail theft,” said Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer. “After hearing conflicting claims of retail theft reports post-Proposition 47, it became apparent that we needed to put rhetoric aside and let the data speak for itself. I commend the Little Hoover Commission for taking up this call to action and providing us with a nonpartisan, comprehensive investigation on this critical issue.”

“I made a promise to take up the issue of retail theft when I came to Sacramento and if there was common ground to make progress on this issue I would take it,” said Assemblymember Alanis. “For months, my colleague, Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer and I have worked hard to win the support of a majority of both houses of the legislature in asking the Little Hoover Commission to take real steps in providing critical data that will help guide our future legislative decisions and shed light on the impacts on retail theft on our communities. I look forward to reading the results of the study."

Reports of rising crime rates the past two years have led to criticism of Proposition 47, including claims that the proposition has left law enforcement and prosecutors unable to do their jobs. However, not only has a lack of aggregated data made it difficult to substantiate these claims, but also the Legislature has received conflicting information about retail theft post-Proposition 47. As such, Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer and Assemblymember Alanis, leaders of the policy committee focused on the criminal justice system, led the request for the Little Hoover Commission, a longstanding trusted provider of independent research, to shed light on this multifaceted issue.

The resulting report will include information on the number of retail thefts, shoplifting, and organized retail thefts, as well as the impacted businesses and stolen materials. Additionally, it will include law enforcement’s response to each theft and whether any arrests were made, citations were given, and whether law enforcement referred each case to the respective district attorney. Further, the report will outline whether the prosecutor connected to each case filed criminal charges and, if charges were not filed, the reasoning as to why charges were not filed. Lastly, the report will include information broken down by each county. This nonpartisan, independent investigation will provide lawmakers and their constituents a better understanding of retail theft and the effects of Proposition 47.

The Little Hoover Commission’s work on this critical issue is now underway, which includes future hearings on this retail theft investigation. To stay apprised of upcoming hearings, please visit the Commission’s website here

To view a copy of Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer’s and Assemblymember Alanis’s letter requesting the retail theft report, please view the letter here.


Assemblymember Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, Sr. represents South Los Angeles, Exposition Park, Florence-Firestone, and a portion of Downtown Los Angeles. For more information about Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer, Sr., please visit