December 6, 2023
California voters 'betrayed' by reform plan that led to shoplifting crisis: Sheriff

Mass shoplifting in California’s capital is “beyond crisis levels,” the sheriff told Fox News Digital.

Mass shoplifting in California’s capital has crossed “crisis levels,” according to Sacramento County’s outspoken sheriff.

“This is way beyond crisis level,” Sacramento County Sheriff Jim Cooper told Fox News Digital about the shoplifting in a Zoom interview Thursday.

Cooper took the Internet by storm earlier this month when he said in an Prevented from failing.

Cooper said his office recently worked with the big retailer to crack down on shoplifting, but the plan apparently failed when Target leaders came up with a list of rules governing where and how. Deputies and detectives can arrest suspects.

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Sacramento County Sheriff Jim Cooper speaking during an event. (Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office/FB)

“At the briefing, we were told by their regional security chief that we could not approach suspects inside the store; we could not handcuff suspects in the store; and if we arrested anyone, they wanted us to Outside the store…take it to the back of the store…in the rain,” The sheriff said on X, Had added to his comment earlier that he “can’t make this stuff up.”

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Cooper, a Democrat who previously served in the California State Assembly, told Fox News Digital that there is a “disconnect” between retail workers who see crime issues in front of their eyes and requests from the sheriff’s office for assistance. , and corporate leaders who want to avoid bad press.

Shopping carts sit inside a Target store in Chicago on August 16, 2023. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

“Honestly, at the corporate level, at the board level, it’s about image. That’s what really matters and that’s sad,” Cooper said. “People have seen your family being robbed in stores. You see it day in and day out and frankly, the public is fed up. Right now, the turnout is about 80%. So the public is in favor [of]’Hey, this is out of control. ‘It’s time to do something.’ But right now, retailers, if they want, can actually tackle it and do an initiative, but it has to go back to the voters.”

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A national retail security survey published this year found that retailers across the country stood to lose $112.1 billion due to retail theft in 2022. The figure is a jump from the deficit of $93.9 billion in 2021 and $90.8 billion in 2020.

Cooper blamed California’s Proposition 47, which voters passed through a ballot initiative in 2014. Under the law, shoplifting charges related to thefts of $950 or less were reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor.

“It really started with a change in the law in 2014 with Proposition 47, which the voters voted on, I should say, and the voters were tricked into voting on that. It was called the Safe Streets and Schools Act. That was said,” Cooper said, noting that the impact of Proposition 47 was felt immediately in the state and has grown over the past nine years since then.

A security guard patrols the front entrance of Nordstrom the day after an organized group of thieves attempted a robbery at The Grove location on November 23, 2021 in Los Angeles. (Gina Frazee/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Cooper said it appears voters haven’t made the connection between voting for Proposition 47 nearly a decade ago and the crime we see today.

“I think they have no idea. God bless the voters. I love the voters. But it’s hard, you read the ballots and you have a lot of things in there and you will [see] ‘Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act? What does this have to do with drugs and theft?’ And that’s exactly what it was. It decriminalized seven crime, drug and theft offences. And that’s why we find ourselves in the crisis that we are in today.”

Retail theft in California appeared to be on the rise in 2021, with criminals repeatedly caught on camera targeting high-end stores like Apple and Nordstrom. Asked whether the 2020 crime wave — when murders increased by nearly 30% nationally — contributed to the increase, the sheriff said it was likely a combination of factors.

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“I think there’s a combination of everything, obviously with the laws of Proposition 47, the loose laws. I think the anarchy, people know, ‘Hey, there’s no accountability. I can go out and steal. I can do it and not get into trouble. And these people are so brazen, they’re not running out of stores. They’re running out with shopping carts full of items. And most big box retailers, and this is what we’re talking about, now have a policy Where ‘Hey, don’t confront anyone, just let them go’, a non-confrontational policy, so that adds fuel to the fire,” he said.

Los Angeles, CA – December 02: Photos of the break-in and hold-up are shown during a press conference to announce arrests in connection with recent robberies at LAPD headquarters in Los Angeles on December 2, 2021. (Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena via Star-News)

Rachel Michelinie, CEO of the California Retailers Association, has taken issue with the sheriff publicly calling out Target for not working with her office, telling Fox News Digital that the sheriff should consult with local leaders on how to address crimes. Should negotiate with.

“I just believe that a better strategy to solve problems is to sit down and have a conversation and not spread it out on social media,” Micheline told Fox News Digital in a phone interview last week. “That’s always been my philosophy. It’s worked for me in the past.”

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He described how his office “worked behind the scenes” with the Governor’s office to launch a major $300 million initiative to combat organized retail crimes across the state, including nearly $9 million to the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office. Dollars included.

She said, “If we had been emotional and kept shouting through social media, this would never have happened. I have just focused on solving the problem. And I will continue to do so.”

Micheline said she understands and shares the sheriff’s concerns about shoplifting crimes, and argued that Proposition 47 should be changed through the vote to allow for greater accountability of thieves.

Retail theft in California surged in 2021, as criminals carrying out robberies were repeatedly caught on camera targeting high-end stores. (Alan J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times/via Getty Images)

“I completely understand that and connect it to their frustration over this issue. I completely understand that. I share that. I think ultimately we both have the same goals, which is to help our customers.” We want a safe shopping experience for, we want a safe work environment for our employees. But the challenge is that, you know, it’s a very nuanced issue,” he said, describing California as a “progressive state.” Said, where some residents support Proposition 47.

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When asked about the CEO’s recent comments, the sheriff told Fox News Digital that he was taken to social media because he has already tried to negotiate with local leaders to crack down on thieves.

“I’ve been talking to these guys for eight years, long before they came on stage. [Michelin] He has not even gone there for more than a few years. That conversation has taken place. I tried to intervene in the legislature on several bills. The voters will have to change this. I’m not sure what part of it he didn’t understand, but it has to go back to the voters and the retailers being complicit in this. So it’s out of control. They are colluding,” he said.

Sacramento County Sheriff Jim Cooper said he plans to continue posting publicly about retail theft issues. (Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office/Facebook)

As big box stores are losing revenue from stolen items and closing stores in crime-ridden areas, the sheriff said consumers are filling the financial gap by paying “sky high” costs at the cash register.

“Those costs are being passed on to us, the consumer, in the form of higher prices. We see it day in and day out… [Big retailers are] Still alive,” he said.

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The sheriff said he has no intention of stopping posting publicly on shoplifting issues, noting that shopkeepers and the public have been favorable towards his early posts.

“Absolutely,” he said, “and the public supports it wholeheartedly.”


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