REPORT: CA Gov. Newsom’s Real Public Safety Plan and California Highway Patrol Crackdowns on Organized Retail Crime Touted

By Kayla Garcia-Pebdani and Perla Chavez

SACRAMENTO, CA— Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Real Public Safety Plan in conjunction with California Highway Patrol’s (CHP) efforts has disrupted organized retail crimes resulting in a record number of arrests and recovery of stolen items, according to a statement released by the governor’s press office this week,

In a 2021 report, featured on the California government website, California Attorney General Rob Bonta explained the benefits of the Real Public Safety Plan, commenting, “Every family in every neighborhood in California deserves to feel safe and be safe as they live, work, and play in their communities.”

Per the 2021 report, Bonta added, “That’s what the Real Public Safety Plan is about—keeping Californians safe by doubling down and allocating additional resources to fight and prevent crime. My office is proud to partner with the governor in this effort, and build upon our existing work to combat organized retail crime, dismantle gangs, defend our common sense gun laws, and hold those who commit crime accountable.”

Tuesday, Gov. Newson announced that since January 2024, CHP’s Organized Retail Crime Task Force has arrested 474 individuals, conducted 185 investigations, and recovered 160,041 assets valued at $4,180,703—roughly half of the stolen goods recovered by the task force in 2023.

In the report, CHP Deputy Commissioner Troy Lukkes commented, “Keeping the public safe is at the heart of everything we do. These criminals have a negative impact on California’s businesses and our communities.”

Lukkes added, “We will continue to collaborate with our law enforcement partners throughout the state and use every available resource to dismantle these criminal networks and hold them accountable for their actions.”

As noted in the statement, from the start of this task force in 2019, CHP has been involved in roughly 2,500 investigations and has arrested 2,500 suspects. CHP has recovered 770,000 stolen goods valued at $42.3 million in the past five years.

The statement reports California invested $1.1 billion in hiring police and improving public safety. Additionally, Newsom’s 2023 plan was the largest investment to combat organized retail crime in the state’s history, resulting in a 310 percent increase in operations and statewide efforts to enhance safety.

Newsom stated, “California will continue to lead more takedowns and make more arrests to keep our community safe. It is through the coordinated effort of our enforcement partners—police, sheriffs, and district attorneys—that the state can keep shutting the door on this unacceptable crime.”

About The Author

Kayla Garcia-Pebdani is a fourth-year student at UC Davis, studying Political Science–Public Service with double minors in Human Rights and Professional Writing. She actively engages in social justice issues and advocacy through her roles as an intern for Article 26 Backpack, the Co-Lead for Students Demand Action at UC Davis, and her previous involvement with Catalyst California as a Government Relations Intern. Kayla hopes to further expand her knowledge and skills during her time with the Vanguard. Through her experiences, she aims to highlight injustices in everyday life and provide means for the public to stay aware and hopefully become inclined to get involved.

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