SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – A certain type of crime is gaining public attention again, with retail stores opening without restrictions.
Video shows suspected shoplifters running out of a San Francisco Neiman Marcus. Target stores, also in the city, are closing at 6 p.m., partially to avoid similar stealing.
“What I hear from retailers a lot is that it is just getting more and more out of control,” said Rachel Michelin, president and CEO of the California Retail Association.
Defined as two or more people stealing in order to sell, organized retail theft is not just a Bay Area issue. Video from Stockton in the past shows similar acts.
A survey by the National Retail Federation lists Sacramento as a top 10 city in the nation for this type of crime.
“I usually catch it after the act so it’s a little frustrating,” said Dave Downey.
In his more than 20 years owning World’s Best Comics, Downey says he has dealt more with petty theft. He feels the lack of repercussions for stealing is not helping him and others.
“The penalties do need to be stiffer, and since they have softened over the years it just needs to go the other direction because that’s not working,” Downey said.
In 2014, California law began to require thefts to be over $950 to be a felony.
Michelin says one of the reasons Sacramento might rank high is because of freeway access.
“I think because it’s easy in Sacramento to commit the crimes and get out, right, and get out of Dodge as quickly as possible,” Michelin said.
There is currently an assembly bill in the State Legislature that would continue a retail task force run by the California Highway Patrol. If it’s extended, it would stay until 2026.