We’ve all seen the videos of people stealing thousands of dollars worth of merchandise from California department stores. They’re a favorite on Fox News programming, where California serves as a constant boogeyman for conservative viewers. But these flash robberies are no political fever dream. The viral sensation is very much based in reality, as a new analysis shows.
The National Retail Association recently released its annual National Retail Security Survey. It includes a list of the top 10 cities in the U.S. for retail theft in 2021. Three of them — including the top two — are in the Golden State.
Top Cities and Metros Affected by Retail Theft in 2021
Los Angeles, CA
San Francisco-Oakland, CA
New York, NY
Dallas-Fort Worth, TX
Politicians know the state has a problem. Gov. Gavin Newsom recently awarded $270 million in grants to help local governments crack down on organized theft. Dozens of California cities have established retail theft task forces, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Anaheim, Bakersfield, Beverly Hills, Brea, Campbell, Chula Vista, Citrus Heights, Coalinga, Costa Mesa, Daly City, Delano, Fremont, Fresno, Garden Grove, Hemet, Irvine, Modesto, National City, Newark, Palm Springs, Palo Alto, Roseville, Salinas, San Fernando, San Jose, San Ramon, Santa Monica, Santa Rosa, and Vacaville.
Public safety advocates insist the situation will not improve until the state takes a hard look at some of the criminal justice reform laws passed in recent years. These include Prop 47 (2014), which downgraded thefts under $950 from felonies to misdemeanors.