Get the facts

Organized retail crime (ORC) and retail theft are urgent crises that require immediate attention to ensure the safety of our communities.

Sadly, because of rampant and shocking retail theft, neighborhood stores have been forced to reduce hours or even shut down to protect the safety of their employees and local shoppers. Not only does this impact businesses and local economies, it hurts the residents who depend on the goods and services neighborhood stores provide — like groceries, medicine and everyday household items.

Californians for Safe Stores and Neighborhoods is committed to a comprehensive approach that prioritizes the four Ds to deter organized retail crime and retail theft.


California Governor Gavin Newsom and the legislature made an important first step to address organized retail crime by extending funding for the retail crime task force in last year’s budget. This year, Governor Newsom announced “The Real Public Safety Plan,” which includes over $300 million per year over the next three years to increase law enforcement presence in retail locations and combat organized retail crime so Californians and small businesses across the state can feel safe. This program goes a long way to dismantle the infrastructure behind these crimes with additional state funding to the Organized Retail Crime Task Forces (ORCTF) and other enforcement resources.


In the Digital Age, the “fencing” of stolen goods has become all too easy. By setting up third-party accounts under fake names, ORC rings are exploiting online marketplaces and the anonymity many of them provide to offload their stolen goods. We need to disrupt the digital black market by passing common-sense, online marketplace transparency reforms, like Senate Bill 301 (Skinner), that will bring these criminal enterprises out of the shadows.


Today, many thieves view retail theft as a low-risk/high-reward crime, knowing they face low odds of arrest or serious consequences. This situation only worsens as frustrated business owners and citizens give up on reporting thefts. We need to change the message. By strengthening laws against repeat offenders, we can deter serial theft and encourage responsive intervention from law enforcement, retailers and our communities, providing sentence discretion.


California’s rehabilitation programs for habitual shoplifters are underutilized. We need to strengthen and reform diversion programs so we can divert repeat offenders into rehabilitation programs as an alternative to jail — and provide options for these individuals to make better life choices.

Organized retail crime and retail theft have quickly become one of the highest profile and top of mind issues in California.

Our focus is to promote policies that will protect retail employees, retail customers and the neighborhoods in which retailers, large or small, operate.