California Democrats Take Strong Measures Against Organized Retail Theft with New Legislation

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In response to a significant rise in organized retail theft, California Democrats are making a bold move by introducing Assembly Bill 1990 (AB 1990), also known as the Secured Transactions and Organized Theft Prevention (STOP) Act.

Led by Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo (D – Los Angeles), this legislation aims to tackle the increasing threat of retail theft, often tied to organized criminal activities.

The STOP Act is a comprehensive approach to creating a safer environment for both employees and customers, addressing the challenges posed by organized retail theft. Aligned with Governor Gavin Newsom’s call to combat property crimes, the bill underscores the need for a robust framework to address this growing issue.

One significant change proposed by AB 1990 is granting peace officers the authority to make a warrantless arrest for misdemeanor shoplifting not committed in their presence, provided there is probable cause to believe the person has committed the offense. This is a departure from current laws that generally require the officer to witness the misdemeanor for a warrantless arrest.

Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo stressed the urgency of addressing organized retail theft, emphasizing its impact on businesses, the California economy, and community safety. She stated, “With the introduction of AB 1990, we are taking a necessary step to strengthen our response to this crisis. Organized retail theft demands an organized response on prevention and safety.”

Recent statistics from the Los Angeles Police Department reveal an 81% increase in shoplifting reports from 2022 to 2023, reaching a total of 11,945 incidents. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office reported over 200 cases of organized retail theft in 2023, indicating a significant surge in retail crime rates in Los Angeles.

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Assemblymember Carlos Villapudua, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economic Development, and the Economy, emphasized the urgency of the STOP Act. He stated, “The STOP Act significantly boosts public safety and bolsters the efforts of local law enforcement to tackle these offenses.

California Democrats Take Strong Measures Against Organized Retail Theft with New Legislation

By escalating penalties and enhancing collaboration between agencies, we aim to deter criminal activity and safeguard our communities.”

The Los Angeles Latino Chamber of Commerce (LALCC) also expressed support for AB 1990. Darrel Sauceda, Chairman of LALCC, highlighted the disproportionate impact of organized retail theft on Latino-owned businesses and praised the legislation as a crucial step toward creating a safer and more secure environment for the business community and the public at large.

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