Californians Against Retail and Residential Theft (CARRT), a coalition of business associations, local groups and victim organisations, has announced its support for a proposed initiative to reform the US state’s Proposition 47, known as the Homeless, Drug Addiction and Theft Reduction Act.

In 2014, California voters passed Proposition 47, legally changing certain low-level crimes from potential felonies to misdemeanours.

CARRT spokesperson Matt Ross explained: “Our current system puts Californians at risk as crime continues to rise without any real repercussions. The initiative focuses on repeat offenders of retail crime and provides an opportunity for those with substance abuse and mental health problems to seek help through diversion programmes. At the same time, it also ensures that there are real consequences for individuals who continue to break the law.”

According to data from the Public Policy Institute of California, there has been a significant recent increase in commercial shoplifting, with a 28.7% rise in 2022 alone.

Across the state, retailers are experiencing increasingly aggressive and violent encounters with shoplifters.

CARRT has been engaging in discussions with local officials, law enforcement bodies and legislators to ensure that they comprehend the true impact of retail and residential crime. CARRT also seeks to provide public safety officials with additional resources to effectively address the issue.

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CARRT members in the retail industry include the California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce, the California Black Chamber of Commerce, the California Business Roundtable, other local Chambers of Commerce, the California Grocers Association and the National Federation of Independent Business.

In January 2024, the California Contract Cities Association also reiterated its push for public policy solutions to deter illegal activities in communities.