The Californian state government in the US is ramping up its efforts to tackle organised retail crime (ORC) ahead of 2023’s busy holiday shopping season.

Under Governor Gavin Newsom’s public safety plan, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) is scaling up its law enforcement presence in major retail districts across the state.

CHP’s Organised Retail Crime Task Force (ORCTF) is joining forces with allied agencies to increase enforcement efforts through proactive and confidential law enforcement operations during the season.

ORCTF regional teams in Sacramento, the Bay Area, Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley will collaborate with retailers, loss prevention and local law enforcement agencies to cut retail crime.

Investigators are actively engaging in taking down known boosters and fencing operations linked to ORC.

The additional law enforcement presence is intended to protect shoppers and merchants while apprehending retail criminals in the act.

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CHP commissioner Sean Duryee stated: “The men and women of the California Highway Patrol are working around the clock to keep shoppers, merchants and retail districts safe this holiday season — and year-round.

“Much of our task force’s success can be attributed to the strong working relationships we have with our law enforcement partners throughout the state and the rapport we have cultivated with the retail industry. Working together with our partners, and utilising the CHP’s extensive state-wide resources, we are cracking down and stopping unacceptable criminal activity.”

Following the launch of ORCTF in 2019, the CHP has been a part of almost 2,200 investigations which have resulted in the arrest of more than 1,500 suspects and the recovery of $33m worth of retail merchandise.

In June 2023, retailers and online marketplaces in California teamed up to sign a new ORC agreement with the US state’s Justice Department.