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Bipartisan Retail Theft Package Advances

For immediate release:
Californians Against Retail Theft

SACRAMENTO – Today the Assembly passed AB 3209, authored by Assemblymember Marc Berman (D-Menlo Park) and Speaker Robert Rivas (D-Salinas), which will authorize a court to impose a Retail Crime Restraining Order upon conviction, or following two or more citations, for a theft offense, vandalism within the store, or battery on an employee within the store. AB 3209 is a key provision in the Assembly’s bipartisan legislative package addressing retail crime and theft in California.

“Whether it be at large retailers at Stanford Shopping Center or small businesses in our unique downtowns, the Bay Area has experienced the largest increases in shoplifting rates across California in the last few years. Whether you’re working at a local store, or shopping there, you deserve to feel safe,” said Assemblymember Marc Berman. “AB 3209 will give local law enforcement an additional and needed enforcement tool against retail crimes, and will further discourage organized and repeated retail theft. This bill, which received significant bipartisan support today, is a key component of the Assembly’s comprehensive retail theft legislative package. I’m proud to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to promote legislative solutions to reduce retail crime and theft in California in a smart, thoughtful way.”

AB 3209 is supported by Attorney General Rob Bonta, the California Retailers Association, the California Chamber of Commerce, and the League of California Cities.

The Assembly’s bipartisan retail theft legislative package will deliver new tools for California to strengthen public safety and protect shoppers and operators. Learn more about the full package of bills here.

Recent trends in retail theft and commercial robbery vary notably throughout the state. The Bay Area experienced the largest increases in shoplifting rates. In regards to shoplifting, San Mateo and San Francisco counties had the highest rates in 2022 seeing increases of 53 percent and 24 percent compared to 2019. There are also substantial increases in commercial burglaries and robberies. For commercial burglary, some counties saw an increase of more than 50 percent in 2022 compared to 2019. For commercial robberies, Los Angeles County had the highest rate along with Fresno and Sacramento counties that saw a 51 percent and 29 percent increase compared to 2019.

The growing issue of retail theft and robbery as well as vandalism and assault on employees in retail must be addressed to ensure the safety of our communities and businesses. In 2023, the California State Assembly established a Select Committee on Retail Theft to further examine this problem and seek thoughtful solutions that do not create undue hardship to our communities. A retail crime restraining order is one of these solutions that provides a balance in providing enforcement tools for retail crimes while implementing a reasonable restriction that does not exacerbate the underlying issues of poverty.