‘Smash and Grab’ Crimes, Getting Guns Off Streets Focus of ‘Real Public Safety Plan’ Announced by Governor, State AG and State-Local Officials

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By Neha Malhi

DUBLIN, CA – California’s Gov. Gavin Newsom last Friday unveiled “Real Public Safety Plan,” alongside CA Attorney General Rob Bonta, CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley, CAL OES Director Mark Ghilarducci, and other state and local leaders.

“Real Public Safety Plan” emphasizes investing in local law enforcement response, ensuring that perpetrators will be held accountable, and getting guns and drugs off from the state streets, said Newsom.

A key target of the effort will be to better police so-called “smash and grabs” thefts at state retail centers.

“We’re doubling down on public safety investments and partnerships with law enforcement officials up and down the state to ensure Californians and small businesses feel safe in their communities- a fundamental news we all share,” added the governor.

As states across the U.S. see rise in some crimes related to organized retail theft, and other violent crimes involving a firearm, the lawmakers and other officials said the safety plan is implemented specifically with the purpose of reducing those crimes by funding a statewide organized theft team in order to prosecute cross-jurisdictional theft-related crimes.

“Every family in every neighborhood in California deserves to feel safe and be safe as they live, work, and play in their communities,” said AG Bonta.

Details of the plan previewed Friday include what is being called the “largest gun buyback program in the country,” and grants to local law enforcement, prosecutors, and small businesses which are victimized due to retail theft.

“The plan will bolster our prevention, deterrence and enforcement efforts to aggressively curb crime, hold bad actors to account and protect Californians from the devastating gun violence epidemic,” said Gov. Newsom.

The dubbed “Real Public Safety Plan” has three key main areas, the officials said: bolstering law enforcement response to stop and apprehend criminals, more prosecutors to hold perpetrators accountable and getting guns and drugs off the streets.

One of the key areas, bolstering local law enforcement response, will provide $255 million in grants for local law enforcement to combat retail theft. Over the next three years it will increase law enforcement presence at retail locations.

The presence will include a “Smash and Grab Enforcement Unit” staffed by the CHP in the Bay Area, Sacramento, San Joaquin Valley, Los Angeles and San Diego.

The plan will also deploy more highway patrols according to real-time data. It also include cooperation with Legislature to upgrade highway’s camera technology to help solve more crimes.

And the plan will create a new grant program to help small businesses which are victimized by smash-and grabs.

Another key area which include having more prosecutors to hold perpetrators accountable will build more dedicated retail theft prosecutors, fighting crime statewide, statewide organized theft team. It will provide an additional of $30 million to local prosecutors over the span of three years to fight crime related to retail, auto and rail theft.

The gun buyback program will hold the gun industry accountable, leading the nation’s gun violence research efforts and intercepting drugs. It will provide $20 million to support the National Guard’s drug interdiction efforts in order to target transnational criminal organizations.

President and CEO of the California Retailers Association Rachel Michelin, thanked Governor Newsom on behalf of Californians for implementing this plan and said “The Smash and Grab Enforcement Unit and other state- level theft teams will provide more regions of the state with the vital expertise necessary to bring resolution to these often challenging and complex crimes without further compromising local resources.”


About The Author

Neha Malhi is graduating from UCLA this summer with BA in Economics. she is from LA, California.

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