The California Highway Patrol will increase patrols at shopping centers across the state
SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom has stepped up statewide efforts to fight organized crime ahead of the shopping season. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) Organized Retail Crime Task Force (ORCTF) is increasing its presence at retail centers across the state and working with local law enforcement agencies to make arrests and increase visibility.
“Californians deserve to feel safe, especially as they head to the stores this holiday season,” Governor Newsom said. “We have doubled down on our multi-million dollar anti-crime efforts to deter, arrest and effectively prosecute criminals involved in organized theft. This year, shopping centers across California will see increased patrols as regional CHP teams work with local law enforcement agencies to help make arrests and recover stolen goods.”
Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 331 by Assemblyman Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer, Sr. (D-Los Angeles) to expand and expand the CHP’s Organized Retail Crime Task Force (ORCTF). The CHP’s regional ORCTF team works with local law enforcement agencies and dealers to combat organized crime. Since the task force’s inception, the CHP has been involved in 1,296 investigations, the arrest of 645 suspects, and the recovery of 271,697 items of stolen merchandise valued at approximately $26 million.
“CHP is dedicated to making sure everyone is safe this holiday shopping season,” said Commissioner Amanda Ray. “Through the joint efforts of the Organized Retail Crime Task Force and our public safety partners, we are working hard to combat organized retail crime and disrupt organized crime rings.”
CHP Organized Retail Crime Task Force investigators intercepted shipments of stolen Lululemon products shipped from various locations across the country, including Ohio, Illinois, and Wisconsin. The 1,861 items were worth about $200,000. Merchandise returned to Lululemon (June 2022).
Governor Gavin Newsom has prioritized the fight against organized retail crime:
- Signed AB 331, extends ORCTF’s sunset provision and invests $6 million annually from 2022-23 to 2024-25 and continuing resources to provide a total of $15 million annually to expand and perpetuate this task force .
- Investing $255 million in local law enforcement grants over the next three years to combat trafficking.
- Providing $30 million over the next three years to support District Attorneys, to successfully prosecute theft-related crimes.
- Funding the creation of a new unit, in the Attorney General’s office, with special investigators and prosecutors focused specifically on organized theft issues.
In addition to law enforcement investigating shoplifting, legislation signed this year by Governor Newsom will make it harder for people to sell stolen goods online. SB 301 by Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), requires high-volume third-party sellers to provide more information to protect consumers, including requiring online marketplaces to comply with certain record-keeping and security practices. And AB 1700 by Assemblyman Brian Maienschein (D-San Diego), requires the Attorney General’s Office to establish on its website a place where the public can report suspected stolen goods found in online marketplaces. Both bills go into effect on January 1, 2023.