Combating Organized Retail Crime: California Highway Patrol Increases Operations by Over 310%

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: As part of Governor Newsom’s Real Public Safety Plan, the California Highway Patrol reports that in 2023, the agency arrested more suspects, conducted more takedowns, and recovered more stolen items than ever before to combat organized retail crime.

SACRAMENTO — Today Governor Gavin Newsom announced the California Highway Patrol (CHP) will end 2023 by setting new records in the state’s efforts to combat organized retail crime.

As part of Governor Newsom’s Real Public Safety Plan, in the first 11 months of the year alone, the CHP — through its Organized Retail Crime Task Force (ORCTF) — increased proactive organized retail crime operations by over 310%, made more than 1,000 arrests (a 109% year-over-year increase) and recovered 187,515 items stolen from retailers (38,600 more items than last year).

WHAT GOVERNOR NEWSOM SAID: “As reports of organized retail crime increase nationally, California is meeting the moment by leading more takedowns and making more arrests than ever before. I’m grateful for the CHP — along with our critical police, sheriff, and district attorney partners — for their continued efforts to leverage the state’s tools and unprecedented resources to crack down on this unacceptable crime.”

“Working with our local law enforcement partners, and utilizing the CHP’s extensive statewide resources, we are cracking down and stopping organized retail crime,” said CHP Commissioner Sean Duryee. “These early results, which are a team effort, show California is headed in the right direction.”

While total data for 2023 won’t be available until next month, data from the first 11 months of the year show the CHP’s efforts are up across the board. Highlights include:


2023*  2022  2021 2020 2019

(313% increase)

52 ** ** **

(47% increase)

358 180 135 24

(109% increase)

482 192 109 16

(25% increase)

148,891 104,812 18,879 3,331

*Data for 11 months only: Jan 1 – Dec 1, 2023
**CHP’s proactive organized retail crime operations began in 2022

In addition to its regular operations, Governor Newsom announced last month that the CHP is increasing its law enforcement presence for a “holiday blitz” in key retail districts across California through proactive and confidential law enforcement operations with allied agencies through the holidays — keeping more shoppers, merchants, and retail districts safe.

Since 2019, the CHP has led over 1,225 investigations that have ensured the arrests of more than 1,800 suspects and the recovery of nearly 500,000 items of stolen retail merchandise valued at more than $21 million. To further support efforts at the local level, Governor Newsom announced earlier this year that California 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.

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 — is supported by California’s 2023-24 budget, which includes more than $800 million in funding to support multiple programs to improve public safety and crack down on retail crime.