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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.

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