Protecting Consumers, Jobs and the Economy

What People Are Saying

Featured Quote

“The retail industry – already struggling from the impacts of the pandemic, labor shortages and supply chain problems – is now faced with large-scale theft and looting, much of it stemming from organized crime. Retail theft is becoming a national crisis, hurting businesses in every state and the communities they serve. We call on policymakers to tackle this problem head-on before it gets further out of control. No store should have to close because of theft..


“These crimes are not victimless. In addition to the growing number of thefts that turn violent, innocent consumers, employees, local communities, and business owners and shareholders bear the costs of rising retail theft. Twenty-five percent of small businesses report raising prices as a result of shoplifting.”

Neil Bradley, Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

We're all fed up. We're all scared. We're sick and tired. We feel hopeless. It’s our leaders not being able to work together, to come together with some united, common solution to help us. We’re gonna do self-defense classes for our employees every month, and we (now) require (them) to wear a whistle
Betty Louis
Chinatown Merchants Association
We are walking Chinatown's streets handing out pepper spray to at least equip the business owners with some form of pepper spray or self-defense.

Brian Young

Volunteer, Community Stream SF, a community based organization in San Francisco’s Chinatown community
“They were not getting all of their product on the shelves and now they do get the product on a shelf, they’re getting stolen... Violent robberies are particularly challenging for small business owners who can’t afford to hire security, which could be a turning point for many businesses. That could be the final straw that could make people reevaluate if they are going to continue operating in California.”
Rachel Michelin
President and CEO, California Retailers Association
Opposition to crime is bipartisan. I've not met anyone who wants to be a victim of crime -- Republican, Democrat, it doesn't matter.
Rob Bonta
California Attorney General
Without deterrents and accountability, communities will be victimized, and businesses terrorized.
Laura Cooper
Executive Director, Major Cities Chief Association
People have lost faith in institutions, whether it’s the government, universities, or law enforcement.
Meghan Daum
Former Los Angeles Times Columnist and Author
When society removes accountability for bad behavior, criminals get emboldened to commit more crimes, drug addicts thumb their noses at mandatory treatment, and vandalism and petty theft turn into riotous looting and murder.
Craig Lally
President of the Los Angeles Police Protective League
Clint likened it to the crime-ridden city from the "Batman" series, saying, "It's f------- Gotham right now." Marilyn, who has lived in the city for decades, said she is frustrated because on a day-to-day basis, "whether it's Safeway or Walgreens, I see people stealing even though there's a police officer at every door.
San Francisco residents on state of crime in SF
"Not only is (ORC) being tolerated because we're seeing it more, but we're seeing there's no prosecution. Law enforcement is not going to engage with that type of element because it's an accepted crime."
Pete Eliadis
Former law enforcement official and CEO of security company Intelligence Consulting Partners
So difficult in San Francisco to do business for a small restaurant as it is, with all the other challenges as it is, and then to wake up to several thousand dollars in damages that just you don’t have to take care of – is disheartening.” “The city’s gotten much less safe, we tell our staff walk in twos, three months ago – stabbings and robberies, just around the corner from here.
Jacob Paronyan
General manager, San Francisco’s world-acclaimed Boulevard Restaurant, and longtime resident
I’ve never seen anything like this. We're seeing more chaos with fewer consequences for those who are committing these acts.” “The prosecutorial response needs to be more stringent. It's about holding people accountable and whether it's installing heavy duty locks or when someone is caught by committing the theft, they need to be prosecuted." “"I'm tired of finger pointing. I'm tired of the letters being sent to various departments and entities, let's get everyone at the table." "This needs to stop. This is an embarrassment to our city [and] our county.
Joe Buscaino (on rail theft)
Los Angeles City Councilman
The California Penal Code 490.4(A), or organized retail theft charge has been used by ORCTF and other law enforcement agencies more frequently in past years as organized retail theft crews have become more and more prominent. (That law) was created so we can appropriately charge organized crews because, as we’ve seen, shoplifting has evolved to more than just shoplifting. It’s become a business enterprise for a lot of people; whether it’s gangs, people exploiting the homeless communities, people are now profiting from this and they’re making a business out of it.
Adam Smith
Team leader, Organized Retail Crime Task Force, Southern Division Team
Back in my Rite Aid and there's nothing to steal because this Rite Aid like so many other Rite Aids is closing down because everybody stole everything. And the workers here don't know if they're getting jobs.
Mike Rappaport
Actor and Comedian
Do something, anything, it's their job to protect us, to make some sort of law, we can protect ourselves at least. Unless something changes, business owners like him will remain on their own. Police can't be everywhere and couldn't possibly respond fast enough to stop crimes like this.
Northern California jewelry store owner
Owner, Maaz Jewelers at Tanforan Mall in San Bruno
I have to get an armed driver to go out at night, and I’m constantly checking my rearview to make sure I’m not being followed. I don’t dare wear jewelry or nice bags when I go out. It’s no fun in this town anymore. If this continues much longer, I’m moving to Palm Beach.
Wife of a prominent Bel-Air financier
A lot of this stuff ends up on platforms you shop on. I promise you, all of you. Some of you have bought some of this stuff that was not in those boxes because they ended up on some online platform at a remarkably discounted price. Did you ever ask yourself how anyone makes money at that remarkably discounted price? Across the spectrum, we have to do a better job."
California Governor Gavin Newsom
Organized retail theft crimes are creating more violent attacks in retail stores nationwide. Many of the criminal rings orchestrating these thefts are also involved in other serious criminal activity such as human trafficking, narcotics trafficking, weapon trafficking. Tackling this growing threat is important to the safety of store employees, customers, and communities across the country.
Steve Francis
Executive Associate Director for Homeland Security Investigations
There’s a lot of paranoia out there, that’s for sure. My phone hasn’t stopped ringing, with business up more than 1,000 percent in just the past 30 days. People aren’t even questioning it now. Folks would usually say, ‘We’ll think about it and get back to you next month.’ Now, they’re saying, ‘I want it, and I want it now.
Dean Cryer
Vice President of Operations for the Los Angeles-based firm Panic Room Builders
“… public safety has become an either/or issue. Incarceration can reduce crime in some areas, but most work release programs and furloughs have all but been tossed out. Actual “rehabilitation” is just semantics as opposed to being a sentencing requirement. A state can be tough on heinous and violent crime, but judicious and practical on drug crimes and low-level offenses, keeping an eye on rehabilitation and restitution. These are the discussions the governor should be having with the Legislature.”
Katy Grimes
Editor, California Globe, Long-time Investigative Journalist covering the California State Capitol
“What will we do when there are no longer brick and mortar retailers left for us to shop? Some of you may think this is an extreme prediction, but, unless things change dramatically in the way we manage crime and criminals, it may very well be the reality of our future.”
Keith Aubele
CPP, Founder, Nav1gate Group, Advisory services to retailers and businesses around the world.
"You’ve heard about the redistribution of wealth. We need a redistribution of incarceration… We've got all these people committing break ins, snatch and grab shooting up heroin on the street and they just walk out. So, if we got the long termers and got them out a little quicker and we took the short-term risk…put them in and give them some drug treatment and training.”

"But you got to have the carrot, but you got to have the stick and the stick is you go steal a car or something. You do spend some time. You don't have to spend 10 years, put it in for a month and they do it again, put them in for three.”
Jerry Brown
Former California Governor
“I have been working [in] my store since I was 16 years old with my family, and we’ve never seen what we have today.”
Raji Brar
Countryside Market & Restaurants Chief Operating Officer
“…it’s increasingly clear that something is wrong with the current approach (in reference to Prop. 47).”
San Diego Union-Tribune