Newsom Signs Legislation to Counter Organized Retail Theft
California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill-331, a new crime bill directed towards combating organized retail thieves, into law at a signing ceremony in Long Beach.
Between the lines: The timing of the enactment of AB 331 comes as Newsom faces a recall election and how nearly 60% of Americans think crime is "extremely serious,” according to a poll by ABC News/ Washington Post.
The event was held at The Hangout on Long Beach's Retro Row and featured over thirteen mayors and police chiefs, including Mayor Robert Garcia and LBPD Chief Robert Luna.
Details: The legislation expands on an existing program that allows California Highway Patrol to form regional task forces with other local police departments to tackle organized retail theft.
The program expired on July 1st, but since Newsom signed the bill into law, the task force will be extended to 2026.
If someone breaks the new anti-theft law "on two or more separate occasions within a 12-month period, and if the aggregated value of the merchandise stolen, received, purchased, or possessed within that 12-month period exceeds $950", a person could be imprisoned at a county jail for at least one year.
AB 331 was introduced by California Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer.
Three CHP retail theft task forces will focus on the San Francisco Bay area, one in San Diego and another in Orange County.