On Tuesday, California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) announced the state would spend hundreds of millions of dollars to combat "organized retail crime." More than $267 million will be distributed in grants to 55 cities and counties across the state. Individual police departments will receive cash infusions of up to $23 million.
Newsom walked right into the classic Fox News trifecta of 1) 'lawlessness', associated with 2) anti-business sentiment, taking place in 3) California. He could spend $20B and he won't satisfy the outrage machine (because it can't be) while destroying lives and wasting tax-payer money in the process.
Thanks Judd and Rebecca, someone has to inform Gavin Newsome about what's going on regarding this issue. I'm sure that the governor knows and hears from corporate owners and those who own high end stores, but that he's not likely to hear from the low wage workers who suffer deeply when their low wages are withheld. If WAGE THEFT in CA creates a $2 billion dollar problem, 3 times the amount caused by regular theft and organized retail theft, how can this more serious problem be addressed? I'm shuddering at the prospect of more police, more people in prison, and simply more suffering by those who have no voice.
You and your facts again. Sheez.
Seriously, this is essential information for activism in service of economic justice. Thank you.
This is just another example of funds being made available for militarization of police departments. I would most likely vote for Newsome were to run for President and I'm thinking this is just a campaign event for 2028.
MAY exacerbate? It would be my opinion that “tough on crime” political theater has already exacerbated the conditions that drive criminal behavior over the past forty to fifty years. These laws were intentionally designed to create a criminal class that could be exploited for cheap or free compulsory mass labor. “Retail theft” is the new “crack cocaine” is the new Jim Crow.
If it bleeds, it leads. These isolated, and yes that is what they are, get the notice because of their brazeness. As a new member of the retail world, I can tell you that inventory loss is not due to theft as much as mismanagement. Lack of using anti theft devices, understaffed stores, and poor inventory controls, I can tell you where the real problems are. Add to that, businesses want to protect their employees by not having them stop shoplifters. Let them go, report to management who then decide if legal action needs to be taken. Corporations do manage to catch some big fish once in a while.
Judd has it right with his numbers.
From what I understand is most, not ALL, corporations now have some sort of non confrontational policy when it comes to shoplifters, so as not to open up their risk to employees. So then the question is if the corporation itself won’t pay for high quality security, why is the state now responsible for PRIVATE theft?? Oh right, that pesky corporate welfare again. Judd and crew, did you ask any corporations for their official policy on shoplifting? I’d love to see their responses!!
I wish SOMEONE would point out to retailers that consumers, like me, avoid malls because of loosened gun laws. If they are looking for a political solution to retail, start by demanding gun control.
Why bother with facts and statistics, when Fox, etc., can play videos in an endless loop?
Your closing paragraph sums it up nicely. Newsome should have done his homework.
Similar to drug use, no one seems interested in finding out the root causes of these two types of crimes - retail theft not done by professionals and drug use by society's most disadvantaged persons.
Is it in society's best interest to lock up people for stealing food or baby formula? How about drug use by the most disadvantaged of of society's members?
It seems that it is better to to be "tough on crime" from a political perspective than from any economic reasons. Until we understand the motivations behind these types of crrimes we will forever be in the dark about how to help people found guilty of these crimes.
Of course, there is the possibility that we already know the root causes - poverty - but since it seems to impact people of color more than 'white' people our politicians don't seem to be interested in any studies that bring this condition to light.
Besides outright racism, there is also the fact that major donors to both parties are not interested in helping to elimenate the causes of poverty. This could adversly affect their bottom lines. Cheap labor is a mainstay of capitalism. This explains why businesses always fight against unions, universal health care, raising the federal minimum wage, and now they are pushing to reverse many of the child labor laws in several states. Kids are even cheaper to employ than adults.
It would appear that Governor Newsom is preparing a president run in 2028. This would explain his attacks on DeSantis and his tough on crime stance. Presidential runs require large amounts of cash and economically challenged people don't make significant political donantions.
Using money as your guide will explain the voting patterns of many of our politcians. This has nothing to do with R vs D, but has everything to do with political ambitions. Very few politicians care about the millions of Americans who have no job secutiry, no pensions, no health care, and no possilility of a better future for themselves or their children.
Could looking forward to a bleak future be the root cause of so much drug adiction?
Retail theft is brazen and frightening, wage theft is sneaky, unseen, and just not sexy enough for t.v. news or press conferences.
What a waste of money! And it will not stop the MAGA crowd and their megaphones from saying "soft on crime" and "the Dems are letting the bad people come for you". I hope this article gets shared widely and gets this program stopped. All we can do is try. Thanks for the great reporting.
Superb exposé, Judd. The money would be better used going after wage-theft employers, or creating more affordable housing, or homeless shelters. I receive many donation solicitations from Newsome, and I live in NC!
A question - do u send this newsletter to Gavin or anyone in his cabinet? He should get a subscription!
Fox's unrealistic and harmful obsession with fear and crime is the gravest threat to the wellbeing of your great country.