A California State Assembly Joint Informational Hearing – “Retail Crime: Exploring Solutions That Work” – will take place on Friday, February 9, 2024, at 9 a.m., at the City of West Hollywood’s Council Chambers/Public Meeting Room, located at 625 N. San Vicente Boulevard.
The Joint Informational Hearing will be hosted by the City of West Hollywood and co-convened by Assemblymember Rick Chavez Zbur, Chair, Select Committee on Retail Theft, and Assemblymember Kevin McCarty, Chair, Assembly Committee on Public Safety. It is open to the public and can be viewed via livestream on the Assembly’s website at https://assembly.ca.gov/todaysevents.
“What is happening is unacceptable,” said Democratic Caucus Chair and Assemblymember Rick Chavez Zbur. “Many of us have seen the footage of stores being emptied – and have experienced the inconvenience of having to call somebody over to unlock everyday items. Businesses fear for their livelihood and employees are concerned for their safety – and members of the public worry it may no longer be safe to frequent their neighborhood stores. We must hold professional criminals accountable and shut down distribution channels and fencing operations for stolen goods. At the same time, we must learn from the mistakes of the past and take steps that will actually deter crime and preserve those reforms that have made our communities safer. I look forward to hearing the recommendations of state and local stakeholders.”
“California grapples with a surge in recurring retail thefts, bringing a sense of insecurity among residents, and impacting businesses significantly,” said Assembly Public Safety Committee Chair Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento). “It’s crucial we reassess our public safety laws to ensure repeat offenders are held accountable for their conduct. I am looking forward to Friday’s joint hearing with the Assembly Select Committee on Retail Theft, and working on common-sense, balanced solutions that will help keep California businesses open and our neighborhoods safe.”
The agenda for the Joint Informational Hearing includes three panels of experts who will discuss detailed topics relating to retail crime, including statewide efforts, local efforts, and addressing fencing.
California State Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas formed the Select Committee on Retail Theft in October 2023, naming Assemblymember Rick Chavez Zbur (D-Hollywood) as Committee Chair. The Select Committee is comprised of bipartisan members from across the state, including from areas most impacted by retail theft. The Assembly Public Safety Committee also hears public safety bills related to retail crime.
Retail crime – which encompasses shoplifting, commercial burglary, and commercial robbery– has seen an alarming rise across the nation and acute areas of California, most notably, but not exclusively, in the Bay Area, the Central Valley, and Los Angeles County. Currently, Los Angeles County has the highest rate of commercial robbery, which is a violent crime defined as theft involving the threat or use of force. Commercial burglary has increased statewide, becoming the most common type of retail theft in recent years, and is at its highest rate since 2008. In 2022, Kern, San Francisco, and Fresno experienced the highest rates of commercial burglary, and rates in Fresno, Alameda, and Orange Counties were 50 percent higher than before the pandemic.
The Select Committee on Retail Theft will continue its work through the 2024 legislative session.
There will be an opportunity for public comment during the hearing and the public may provide written testimony before the hearing; send written testimony to [email protected]. Please note that any written testimony submitted is considered public comment and may be read into the record or reprinted.