California Increases Law Enforcement Operations Heading Into Holiday Shopping Season To Combat Organized Retail Crime

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Heading into the busy holiday shopping season, California launches organized retail crime crackdown.

SACRAMENTO — Governor Gavin Newsom today announced 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.

WHAT GOVERNOR NEWSOM SAID: “When criminals run out of stores with stolen goods, they need to be arrested and escorted directly into jail cells. 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 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.”

Some of the $350,000 worth of evidence that CHP seized in a single recent investigation

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.

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. Building on investments to improve officer retention and well-being and the Governor’s Real Public Safety Plan – which focuses on strengthening local law enforcement response, ensuring perpetrators are held accountable, and getting guns and drugs off our streets – 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.

A virtual media briefing highlighting the CHP’s increased holiday enforcement efforts, along with efforts in Los Angeles and San Francisco, is available for viewing and download here