California

On Friday December 17th, California Governor Gavin Newsom unveiled a multipronged plan to fight and prevent crime in California. The plan called, Real Public Safety Plan, focuses on new investments that will bolster local law enforcement response, ensure prosecutors hold perpetrators accountable and get guns and drugs off our streets.

“We’re doubling down on our public safety investments and partnerships with law enforcement officials up and down the state to ensure Californians and small businesses feel safe in their communities – a fundamental need we all share,” said Governor Newsom. “Through robust new investments and ongoing coordination with local agencies, this plan will bolster our prevention, deterrence and enforcement efforts to aggressively curb crime, hold bad actors to account and protect Californians from the devastating gun violence epidemic.”

The Governor’s Real Public Safety Plan will support existing efforts and new initiatives, including a permanent Smash and Grab Enforcement Unit led by CHP, funding for a statewide organized theft team in the Attorney General’s Office to prosecute cross-jurisdictional theft-related crimes, the largest gun buyback program in the country and grants for local law enforcement, prosecutors, and small businesses victimized by retail theft.

“On behalf of retailers across California, I want to thank Governor Newsom for his commitment to addressing the growing problem of organized retail crime,” said President and CEO of the California Retailers Association Rachel Michelin. “The Smash and Grab Enforcement Unit and other state- level theft teams will provide more regions of the state with the vital expertise necessary to bring resolution to these often challenging and complex crimes without further compromising local resources.”

The Real Public Safety Plan will focus on three core principals:

Bolstering Local Law Enforcement Response to Stop and Apprehend Criminals

  • Increased Local Law Enforcement to Combat Retail Theft: The Real Public Safety Plan includes $255 million in grants for local law enforcement over the next three years to increase presence at retail locations and combat organized, retail crime so Californians and small businesses across the state can feel safe.
  • Smash and Grab Enforcement Unit: Governor Newsom’s Plan includes a permanent Smash and Grab Enforcement Unit. Operated by the California Highway Patrol, the unit will consist of enforcement fleets that will work with local law enforcement to crack down on organized retail, auto and rail theft in the Bay Area, Sacramento, San Joaquin Valley, Los Angeles and San Diego regions.
  • Keeping Our Roads Safe: With the Real Public Safety Plan, CHP will now be able to strategically deploy more patrols based on real-time data to help keep our roads safe. Governor Newsom will also work with the Legislature to upgrade highway camera technology to gather information to help solve crimes.
  • Support for Small Businesses Victimized by Retail Theft: Governor Newsom’s Plan will create a new grant program to help small businesses that have been the victims of smash-and-grabs to get back on their feet quickly.

More Prosecutors to Hold Perpetrators Accountable

  • Dedicated Retail Theft Prosecutors: The plan will ensure District Attorneys are effectively and efficiently prosecuting retail, auto and rail theft-related crime by providing an additional $30 million in grants for local prosecutors over three years.
  • Fighting Crime Statewide: The Real Public Safety Plan will allow the Attorney General to continue leading anti-crime task forces around the state, including High Impact Investigation Teams, LA interagency efforts and task forces to combat human trafficking and gangs.
  • Statewide Organized Theft Team: Governor Newsom’s plan includes $18 million over three years for the creation of a dedicated state team of special investigators and prosecutors in the Attorney General’s office to go after perpetrators of organized theft crime rings that cross jurisdictional lines.

Getting Guns and Drugs Off Our Streets

  • The Largest Gun Buyback Program in America: The Governor’s plan will create a new statewide gun buyback program, working with local law enforcement to provide matching grants and safe-disposal opportunities to get guns off our streets and promote awareness of gun violence.
  • Holding the Gun Industry Accountable: In light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, the Governor is working with the California Legislature to propose a nation-leading law that would allow private citizens to sue anyone who manufactures, distributes or sells unlawful assault weapons, as well as “ghost guns,” ghost gun kits or their component parts.
  • Leading the Nation’s Gun Violence Research Efforts: When Congress refused to allow America to study the impacts of gun violence, California stepped up. The Real Public Safety Plan includes additional funding for California’s nation-leading gun violence research center at UC Davis.
  • Intercepting Drugs: The Governor’s plan will keep drugs off our streets and includes $20 million to support the National Guard’s drug interdiction efforts, targeting transnational criminal organizations.

Many Californians blame the rise in theft on Prop 47, passed by the voters in 2014 categorizing theft up to $950 as a misdemeanor instead of a felony.

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