Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas has formed a new Select Committee on Retail Theft, naming Assemblymember Rick Chavez Zbur as Committee Chair
SACRAMENTO, CA — California State Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas has announced the formation of a new Select Committee on Retail Theft, and has named Assemblymember Rick Chavez Zbur (D-Hollywood) as Committee Chair. The Select Committee is comprised of bipartisan members from across the state, including from areas most impacted by retail theft. The committee will provide a forum to engage impacted stakeholders – including large retailers, small businesses, criminal justice reform advocates, law enforcement, and representatives of workers and the public – to identify policy solutions to this ongoing crisis.
The 11 Committee members are:
Assemblymember Rick Chavez Zbur (D-Hollywood) – Committee Chair
Assemblymember Juan Alanis (R-Merced & Stanislaus)
Assemblymember David Alvarez (D-San Diego)
Assemblymember Mia Bonta (D-Alameda & San Francisco)
Assemblymember Vince Fong (R-Kern & Tulare)
Assemblymember Matt Haney (D-San Francisco)
Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento)
Assemblymember Liz Ortega (D-Alameda)
Assemblymember Blanca Pacheco (D-Los Angeles & Orange)
Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Orange)
Assemblymember Pilar Schiavo (D-Los Angeles)
Retail theft – which encompasses shoplifting, commercial burglary, and commercial robbery– has seen an alarming rise in California, most notably, but not exclusively, in the Bay Area, the Central Valley, and Los Angeles County. Currently, Los Angeles County has the highest rate of commercial robbery, which is a violent crime defined as theft involving the threat or use of force. Commercial burglary has increased statewide, becoming the most common type of retail theft in recent years, and is at its highest rate since 2008. In 2022, Kern, San Francisco, and Fresno experienced the highest rates of commercial burglary, and rates in Fresno, Alameda, and Orange Counties were 50 percent higher than before the pandemic.
In 2023, the Governor and Legislature, recognizing the gravity of this issue, awarded the largest-ever single investment to combat organized retail crime in California history — sending over $267 million to 55 cities and counties to increase arrests and prosecutions for organized retail crime. The funding, part of the Governor's Real Public Safety Plan, was dispersed on October 1, 2023, to 34 police departments, 7 sheriffs' departments, one probation department, and 13 district attorney offices to prevent and investigate cases of organized retail theft and arrest and prosecute more suspects. The Select Committee on Retail Theft will review and explore additional policy solutions to address the crisis.
"Californians have had enough of these smash-and-grab crimes and shameless shoplifting incidents," Speaker Rivas said. "They're appalling and affect everyone. The Assembly understands we must do more to address root causes, protect businesses owners and fight criminal activity. It's my expectation that the Retail Theft select committee will act with focus and urgency."
"I applaud and thank Speaker Rivas for prioritizing this important issue," said Assemblymember Rick Chavez Zbur. "We are seeing increasing store closures across the state attributed to shoplifting, as well as commercial burglary and commercial robbery. Widespread retail theft is not only bad for business and a source of shopper inconvenience – it's an issue of safety, and the perception of safety, for workers, business owners, and the public. Speaker Rivas and members of the Assembly are committed to responding with smart and effective solutions to this trend of retail thefts and organized crime, and the Select Committee is ready to get to work."
The Select Committee on Retail Theft will convene this fall and continue its work through the 2024 legislative session.
Assemblymember Rick Chavez Zbur serves as the Democratic Caucus Chair for the California State Assembly and represents the 51st Assembly District, including Hollywood, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Westwood, Santa Monica, and portions of Los Angeles.
CONTACT: Vienna Montague, PH: (916) 319-2051, EM: Vienna.Montague@asm.ca.gov