Taking on criminal elements in our society has been a longstanding focus of mine as an elected official.
On the matter of organized retail theft, or what some call “smash and grabs,” I have authored several bills giving law enforcement the tools and resources needed to combat these crimes starting with AB 1065.
AB 331 re-established the California Highway Patrol’s Organized Retail Theft Task Force, allowing for investigations of thefts, the tracking of perpetrators, arrests, and the recovery of stolen merchandise. Millions of dollars in merchandise have been recovered since 2018 by this task force.
My bill AB 2294 gives local law enforcement added capabilities in making arrests and filing charges against criminals and their accomplices.
In the 2023-24 budget, California allocated $267 million to deal with the issue. Over 55 cities and counties were each given funding to support law enforcement and prosecutors’ efforts in capturing and prosecuting those responsible for organized crime theft activities.
These efforts have been paying off with successful captures, arrests, prosecutions, and recoveries immediately after each theft. Working on the causation of these thefts is the other side of the coin that will need to be examined and dealt with if we as a state want to stop crimes from happening due to poverty, lack of opportunities, and other socioeconomic obstacles that pace some on a wayward path.
Recent wins for law enforcement and the communities they serve using these laws can be found below.
11 arrests in Pleasant Hill including charges of organized retail theft (felony).
3 arrests in SF over the weekend
9 arrested in SF last week using new budget funds