Assemblymember Kristin Olsen (R-Riverbank) said AB 2805, her bill to create a task force that would develop and adopt standards for detecting and tracking cargo theft, passed the Assembly Committee on Agriculture on Thursday, April 14.
“Every coordinated and successful attempt at cargo theft is a direct hit on not only the pockets of hardworking farmers and farmworkers in California – but on our state’s economy,” said Olsen. “AB 2805 is a proactive solution that will aid law enforcement, protect businesses, and deter future theft and organized crime.”
California has seen an increase in incidents of cargo theft in recent years. According to CargoNet, California experienced 158 cargo theft incidents in 2015, costing businesses over $18.7 million – more than any other state. These massive losses are spread across all sectors of our economy including agriculture, retail, and technology.
Organized crime has been responsible for many of these thefts, and the scope of crime suggests international actors are at play. However, local law enforcement agencies have been unable to adequately respond due to a lack of resources and the inability to coordinate statewide.
“Over the past six months, the tree nut industry has experienced the loss of more than 30 loads of almonds, walnuts, pistachios and cashews in California resulting in unrecoverable losses of over $10 million,” said Roger Isom, President and CEO of the Western Agricultural Processors Association. “Located in primarily rural counties, the tree nut industry sees AB 2805 as a critical tool in initiating a statewide effort to combat this rapidly growing and very costly crime. As a representative of the tree nut industry of almonds, walnuts, pecans and pistachios in California, the Western Agricultural Processors Association (WAPA) is a strong supporter of this bill.”
To enhance coordination efforts between local law enforcement agencies, AB 2805 will create the California Agriculture Cargo Theft Crime Prevention Program. The task force will work to develop crime prevention programs, problem solving, and crime control techniques, and may develop a uniform procedure for all participating counties to collect data on cargo theft crimes. The program will also offer solutions for reporting cargo theft crimes that will enable the successful apprehension of criminal suspects for prosecution.
AB 2805 passed the Assembly Committee on Agriculture on a 10 to 0 vote, and will be heard in the Assembly Committee on Appropriations in the coming weeks.