Effectiveness of CHP Retail Task Force via AB331 - Pt 2


How did we get here: Prop 47 only had a demarcation of misdemeanor vs felony at $950. Organized retail theft was given more latitude for no incarceration via AB`1065 (2018) in Penal Code Sect. 490.4.

Related article: Effectiveness of CHP Retail Task Force via AB1065 - Pt 1 | 

Organized retail theft seen in 2020, especially the anonymity because of acceptable masks, was incentivized via the punishment latitude provided by AB1065, written in 2018 & expired 1/1/21. 

Governor Newsom's 9/12/23 press release suggested 55 cities and counties, beyond the three divisions established to fulfill the details of AB1065 (which expired 1/1/21), to distribute $267 million towards combatting organized retail crime.  

" After a competitive grant application process for the state’s Organized Retail Theft Grant Program, local law enforcement agencies in seven counties and 34 cities are being recommended for funding by BSCC....Recommended funding levels and project scopes for each agency are available on BSCC’s website."

However, the funding came through the Board of State and Community Corrections and was directed to law enforcement agencies & district attorney's NOT municipalities or counties.

PALM SPRINGS (Sept. 14, 2023) – The Board of State and Community Corrections unanimously approved nearly $270 million in grants to 38 law enforcement agencies and 13 district attorney offices to help fight organized retail theft. The Organized Retail Theft Grants are a focus of the Governor and part of the state’s effort to protect


The misunderstanding of Proposition 47 and specifically addressing organized retail theft with the notorious $950 threshold,  is addressed via Penal Code Section 490.4 as rewritten in 2020 within AB331, specifically:

(1) If violations of paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of subdivision (a) are committed on two or more separate occasions within a 12-month period, and if the aggregated value of the merchandise stolen, received, purchased, or possessed within that 12-month period exceeds nine hundred fifty dollars ($950), the offense is punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year or pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.

   (c) For the purpose of determining whether the defendant acted in concert with another person or persons in any proceeding, the trier of fact may consider any competent evidence, including, but not limited to, all of the following:

        (1) The defendant has previously acted in concert with another person or persons in committing acts constituting theft, or any related offense, including any conduct that occurred in counties other than the county of the current offense, if relevant to demonstrate a fact other than the defendant’s disposition to commit the act.

        (2) That the defendant used or possessed an artifice, instrument, container, device, or other article capable of facilitating the removal of merchandise from a retail establishment without paying the purchase price and use of the artifice, instrument, container, or device or other article is part of an organized plan to commit theft.

         (3) The property involved in the offense is of a type or quantity that would not normally be purchased for personal use or consumption and the property is intended for resale.

   (d) In a prosecution under this section, the prosecutor shall not be required to charge any other coparticipant of the organized retail theft.

Organized Retail Theft Program (ca.gov)

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