Heading into the busy holiday shopping season, California has launched an organized retail crime crackdown.
The California Highway Patrol (CHP) is increasing statewide efforts to combat organized retail crime as the annual holiday shopping season begins. As part of the Governor’s Real Public Safety Plan, the CHP is increasing its law enforcement presence in key retail districts across California and its Organized Retail Crime Task Force (ORCTF) is increasing enforcement efforts through proactive and confidential law enforcement operations with allied agencies through the holidays — keeping more shoppers, merchants, and retail districts safe.
“When criminals run out of stores with stolen goods, they need to be arrested and escorted directly into jail cells,” said Governor Gavin Newsom regarding the crackdown. “Leveraging hundreds of millions of dollars in law enforcement investments, the California Highway Patrol — working with allied agencies — is increasing enforcement efforts and conducting and supporting covert and confidential takedowns to stop these criminals in their tracks during the holiday season, and year-round.”
The additional law enforcement presence across California is an effort to keep shoppers and merchants safe while catching retail criminals in the act. To help reduce the amount of retail crime that occurs during the holiday shopping season, the CHP’s ORCTF regional teams in Southern California, the Bay Area, the San Joaquin Valley, and Sacramento will be collaborating with retailers, loss prevention, and local law enforcement agencies. Additionally, several proactive and confidential law enforcement operations are planned with allied agencies throughout the state and investigators are aggressively investigating and taking down known boosters and fencing operations linked to organized retail crime.
“The men and women of the California Highway Patrol are working around the clock to keep shoppers, merchants, and retail districts safe this holiday season — and year-round,” said CHP Commissioner Sean Duryee. “Much of our task force’s success can be attributed to the strong working relationships we have with our law enforcement partners throughout the state and the rapport we have cultivated with the retail industry. Working together with our partners, and utilizing the CHP’s extensive statewide resources, we are cracking down and stopping unacceptable criminal activity.”
Since the inception of the ORCTF in 2019, the CHP has been involved in nearly 2,200 investigations that have led to the arrests of more than 1,500 suspects and the recovery of nearly 420,000 items of stolen retail merchandise valued at more than $33 million. Building on these successful efforts, Governor Newsom announced earlier this year that the state awarded the largest-ever single investment to combat organized retail crime in California history — sending over $267 million to 55 cities and counties to increase arrests and prosecutions for organized retail crime.
Public safety funding in California is at an all-time high. California’s 2023-24 budget includes more than $800 million in funding to support multiple programs to improve public safety and crack down on retail crime.