Get The Facts

The Crisis: Retail and Residential Theft is on the Rise in California

Property crime is up nearly 10% over the past two years. Overall crime is up is up over 10% over the past two years.

What’s worse is that since the passage pf Proposition 47 violent crime is up more than 25%.

In California specifically, shoplifting cases have been on the rise according to data from the Public Policy Institute of California; commercial shoplifting increased by 28.7% in 2022 alone! Commercial burglary also saw an increase of 5.8%, while commercial robbery rose by 9%. These statistics indicate that property crimes are escalating rapidly within our communities.

“Many of our small businesses serve as the backbone for the local communities. We firmly believe that California needs safe stores and neighborhoods for the state to thrive.” – Pat Fong Kushida, President and CEO of the California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce.

The National Retailers Federation reports that retail crime reached an all-time high in 2022, resulting in over $112 billion in losses across the nation.

“Retail theft losses may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Something needs to be done before mom-and-pop stores are stolen from our communities.” – Julian Canete, President and CEO of the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce. 

“Businesses affected by crime must make up those losses by raising prices or reducing costs by reducing hours or closing stores. This disproportionately impacts communities of color.” – Jay King, President and CEO of the California Black Chamber of Commerce.

88% of retailers are reporting shoplifters are more aggressive and violent compared to a year ago.

A Southern California independent chain of 50 grocery stores receives more than 200 theft notifications daily (more than 70,000 annually). This is despite additional security measures such as locking carts, security cameras and other measures.

Unfortunately, thieves are becoming brazen, with a store clerk in San Jose being killed over a liquor bottle.

Retailers are devoting considerable resources to prevent the victimization of their employees, guests, and organizations with more than half increasing security budgets – 2022 Retail Security Survey.

Theft goes beyond the retail space:

  • More than 260 million packages worth $19.5 billion were stolen by porch pirates in the past year, according to SafeWise.
  • CA catalytic converter thefts have climbed sharply from 1,300 reported thefts in 2018 to more than 52,000 in 2021. That is a more than 1,200% increase, according to Carfax.

The Causes: Soft-on-Crime Policies, Lack of Resources for Law Enforcement and Failure to Address Substance Abuse

“Why Shoplifting Is Now De Facto Legal In California… Because state law holds that stealing merchandise worth $950 or less is just a misdemeanor, which means that law enforcement probably won’t bother to investigate, and if they do, prosecutors will let it go.” – Hoover Institute

The 2018 PPIC Study found Proposition 47 is linked to an increase in retail theft

“After decreases in 2020, both property and violent crimes increased in California in 2021 highlighted with organized retail theft and videos of smash and grab robberies. Misdemeanors are being cited and released, or not reported and arrested because they just get cited and released… (We need) a more balanced approach of accountability and treatment for offenders, providing access to diversion programs addressing some of the root causes of crime – poverty, addition, mental illness – while at the same time protecting our communities and holding criminals accountable for their actions.” – Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi

Since the passage of Proposition 47, participation in drug courts decreased statewide by 67% from 2014 to 2018, according to the Center for Court Innovation.

Their study suggests that reduced legal leverage under Prop. 47 directly influenced this decline, as eligible defendants were more likely to refuse participation due to perception of the program as lengthy and intensive.

Meanwhile, according to the CDC, the number of drug overdose deaths in 2021 exceeded 10,000 — it is more than double the number of fatal drug overdoses from 2014.

We cannot function as a society where we have told people over and over again that there is no consequence for stealing other people’s property.” – El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson.

The Solution

Urge California officials to act now to put an end to retail and residential theft on Main Street and in our neighborhoods.

Put more cops on the streets and give law enforcement the tools to address the problem.