California has launched an offensive against the “brazen” criminals causing chaos in the state’s retail sector — injecting $267,118,293 into local law enforcement agencies to help them crack down on smash-and-grab robberies.
The funding will be split between 55 local law enforcement agencies across the state — with 41 sheriffs’ and police departments, along with one probation department, being awarded up to $23,663,194 each. Thirteen district attorney offices will also each receive up to $2,050,000 to prevent and investigate organized retail crime and arrest and prosecute more suspects.
“Enough with these brazen smash-and-grabs,” California governor Gavin Newsom said when announcing the grants. “With an unprecedented $267 million investment, Californians will soon see more takedowns, more police, more arrests and more felony prosecutions.
“When shameless criminals walk out of stores with stolen goods, they’ll walk straight into jail cells.”
Retailers have had enough
Retailers in California have been struggling to cope with the recent surge in criminal activity — which is seriously stinging their bottom lines.
As a result, some stores have resorted to securing certain items with padlocks and chains, or they’re locking up high-theft items behind plastic casings, while others are upping their security, resulting in a major inconvenience to honest shoppers and workers alike.
But for many retail giants, enough is enough. In recent months, there’s been a huge uptick in retailers shutting up shop and leaving theft-prone cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles for good — landing significant blows to the state’s economy.
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A $100 billion problem
The issues plaguing California aren’t isolated to the Golden State. According to a study from the National Retail Federation, organized retail crime and theft are growing in both scope and complexity across the U.S.
In fact, The National Retail Federation (NRF) estimated in its annual security report that theft is costing the retail industry roughly $100 billion. The NRF described theft as a “persistent and growing threat.”
Many cities have seen retail store closures in recent months — with rampant crime being just one of the major factors in this.
In addition to theft concerns, retailers across the U.S. are also struggling to regain the same levels of foot traffic that they enjoyed pre-pandemic — partly due to rising costs and the sustained popularity of remote work, which has reduced footfall in downtown shopping areas.
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