California’s Investment to Combat Organized Retail Crime Shows Early Results

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: In late 2023, California distributed over $267 million to local law enforcement agencies across the state to combat organized retail crime. Just weeks into 2024, this new law enforcement funding has already resulted in an initial 900+ arrests and local agencies say they plan to use this state funding to hire more police and law enforcement officers, increase deployments, and increase prosecutions.

SACRAMENTO – After receiving California’s largest-ever single investment to combat organized retail crime, law enforcement agencies across the state report they’ve already used the money to make an initial 900+ arrests and will hire more police officers. The $267 million state investment — which is a signature part of Governor Newsom’s Real Public Safety Plan — was distributed to 55 cities and counties in October 2023 to prevent crime, and increase arrests and prosecutions for organized retail crime.

WHAT GOVERNOR NEWSOM SAID: “California is funding the police and reaping results: With the state’s $267 million investment to combat organized crime, law enforcement agencies report they’re hiring more officers, making more arrests, and prosecuting more cases. These early results show promise and the state will continue to monitor local outcomes to ensure public safety is being delivered.”

The Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) recently published the results of a survey it sent to all recipients of the Organized Retail Theft Prevention Grant and the Organized Retail Theft Vertical Prosecution Grant Program. The survey asked grantees to identify their planned activities and share highlights related to early progress in implementing the funding. Among reporting agencies, outcome highlights include:

✅ Five agencies report using the funds to make at least 900 arrests so far (Reporting agencies: Hemet Police Department, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Modesto Police Department, Roseville Police Department, and Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department)

✅ Nearly 70% of law enforcement agencies plan to — or have already hired — more staff with the state funds, including more police.

✅ 75% of grantees say they will use the state funds to increase organized retail crime sting operations, establish crime centers, and increase police patrols.

✅ 98% of grantees plan on utilizing the funds to purchase improved crime-fighting technology to help boost the ability to surveil, track, and investigate criminal enterprises.

✅ 100% of district attorney offices who received funds have begun focused efforts to establish an organized retail crime vertical prosecution unit to increase prosecutions.

Full survey results can be viewed here.

California has invested $1.1 billion since 2019 to fight crime, help local governments hire more police, and improve public safety. Last month, Governor Newsom called for new legislation to expand criminal penalties and bolster police and prosecutorial tools to combat theft and take down professional criminals who profit from smash and grabs, retail theft, and car burglaries. In 2023, as part of California’s Real Public Safety Plan, the Governor announced the largest-ever investment to combat organized retail crime in state history, an annual 310% increase in proactive operations targeting organized retail crime, and special operations across the state to fight crime and improve public safety.