Shopping mall
A shopping mall. Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Hundreds of thousands of shoppers are expected to head to malls and stores across California for Black Friday as the California Highway Patrol steps up efforts to tackle organized retail theft.

The CHP’s Organized Retail Crime Task Force is increasing its presence at shopping centers throughout the state and working with local law enforcement agencies to make arrests and heighten visibility.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 331 in July to extend and expand the task force. Its regional teams collaborate with local law enforcement agencies and retailers to proactively address organized retail theft.

Since the inception of the task force, the CHP has been involved in 1,296 investigations, the arrest of 645 suspects, and the recovery of 271,697 items of stolen retail merchandise valued at nearly $26 million, Newsom said.

“Californians deserve to feel safe especially as they head to stores this holiday season,” Newsom said. “We’ve doubled down on our efforts to combat crime with millions of dollars to deter, arrest and successfully prosecute criminals involved in organized retail theft.

“This year, shopping centers across California will see saturated patrols as CHP regional teams work with local law enforcement agencies to help make arrests and recover stolen merchandise,” he said.

According to an annual survey released Nov. 17 by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics, an estimated 166.3 million Americans are planning to shop from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, almost 8 million more people than last year and the highest estimate since the federation began tracking the data in 2017.

“While there is much speculation about inflation’s impact on consumer behavior, our data tells us that this Thanksgiving holiday weekend will see robust store traffic with a record number of shoppers taking advantage of value pricing,” said Matthew Shay, the president and CEO of the retail federation, the world’s largest retail trade association.

“We are optimistic that retail sales will remain strong in the weeks ahead, and retailers are ready to meet consumers however they want to shop with great products at prices they want to pay.”

City News Service contributed to this article.





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Ellen Bullock