“A Walgreens, a Target, a Walmart, they also include pharmacies. So, they’re also part of our healthcare system,” said California Retailers Association President Rachel Michelin.
“There are hundreds of small retailers that are closing their doors every day because of retail theft as well,” said Michelin.
Prop 47, which passed in 2014, enacted many crucial criminal reforms. But it also increased the misdemeanor theft level from $400 to $950 per theft, often resulting in the thieves being cited and released.
“Candidly, people are not being held accountable for breaking the laws. There are some policy changes that still have to happen. We tried last year in the legislature; couldn’t get a bill through,” said Michelin.
For example, thieves go from store to store and steal $900 in merchandise at five places. That $4,500 worth of goods is no longer combined.
“It’s a misdemeanor. It’s not a felony. So, people are using theft as a business to fund other illegal activities because there’s not a penalty for it,” said Michelin.
Retailers say arrests can break the theft cycle.
“We want to make sure that they get the support services that are readily available across the state of California,” said Michelin.