Governor Newsom unveils Public Safety Plan to aggressively fight and prevent crime in California
Last updated 12/25/2021 at 9:47am
DUBLIN – Building on the Administration's work in partnership with local law enforcement to bolster public safety, Governor Gavin Newsom today unveiled a multipronged plan to fight and prevent crime in California. The Governor's Real Public Safety Plan focuses on new investments that will bolster local law enforcement response, ensure prosecutors hold perpetrators accountable and get guns and drugs off our streets.
"We're doubling down on our public safety investments and partnerships with law enforcement officials up and down the state to ensure Californians and small businesses feel safe in their communities – a fundamental need we all share," said Newsom. "Through robust new investments and ongoing coordination with local agencies, this plan will bolster our prevention, deterrence and enforcement efforts to aggressively curb crime, hold bad actors to account and protect Californians from the devastating gun violence epidemic."
While long-term crime trends in California are down in almost every category, states across America have seen a recent uptick in organized retail theft and other violent crimes, particularly those involving a firearm. The governor's Real Public Safety Plan will support existing efforts and new initiatives, including a permanent Smash and Grab Enforcement Unit led by CHP, funding for a statewide organized theft team in the Attorney General's Office to prosecute cross-jurisdictional theft-related crimes, the largest gun buyback program in the country and grants for local law enforcement, prosecutors, and small businesses victimized by retail theft.
Newsom announced the plan Dec. 17 alongside Attorney General Rob Bonta, CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley, CAL OES Director Mark Ghilarducci and other state and local leaders at the CHP's Dublin Area Office.
"Every family in every neighborhood in California deserves to feel safe and be safe as they live, work, and play in their communities," said Bonta. "That's what the Real Public Safety Plan is about – keeping Californians safe by doubling down and allocating additional resources to fight and prevent crime. My office is proud to partner with the governor in this effort, and build upon our existing work to combat organized retail crime, dismantle gangs, defend our common sense gun laws, and hold those who commit crime accountable."
"On behalf of retailers across California, I want to thank Governor Newsom for his commitment to addressing the growing problem of organized retail crime," said California Retailers Association President and CEO Rachel Michelin. "The Smash and Grab Enforcement Unit and other state- level theft teams will provide more regions of the state with the vital expertise necessary to bring resolution to these often challenging and complex crimes without further compromising local resources."
Building on the Administration's ongoing efforts, the Real Public Safety Plan's three core areas of focus crack down on crime to keep communities safe by:
Bolstering local law enforcement response to stop and apprehend criminals
● Increased Local Law Enforcement to Combat Retail Theft: The Real Public Safety Plan includes $255 million in grants for local law enforcement over the next three years to increase presence at retail locations and combat organized retail crime so Californians and small businesses across the state can feel safe.
● Smash and Grab Enforcement Unit: Newsom's Plan includes a permanent Smash and Grab Enforcement Unit. Operated by the California Highway Patrol, the unit will consist of enforcement fleets that will work with local law enforcement to crack down on organized retail, auto and rail theft in the Bay Area, Sacramento, San Joaquin Valley, Los Angeles and San Diego regions.
● Keeping Our Roads Safe: With the Real Public Safety Plan, CHP will now be able to strategically deploy more patrols based on real-time data to help keep our roads safe. Governor Newsom will also work with the Legislature to upgrade highway camera technology to gather information to help solve crimes.
● Support for Small Businesses Victimized by Retail Theft: Newsom's Plan will create a new grant program to help small businesses that have been the victims of smash-and-grabs to get back on their feet quickly.
More prosecutors to hold perpetrators accountable
● Dedicated Retail Theft Prosecutors: The plan will ensure District Attorneys are effectively and efficiently prosecuting retail, auto and rail theft-related crime by providing an additional $30 million in grants for local prosecutors over three years.
● Fighting Crime Statewide: The Real Public Safety Plan will allow the Attorney General to continue leading anti-crime task forces around the state, including High Impact Investigation Teams, LA interagency efforts and task forces to combat human trafficking and gangs.
● Statewide Organized Theft Team: Newsom's plan includes $18 million over three years for the creation of a dedicated state team of special investigators and prosecutors in the Attorney General's office to go after perpetrators of organized theft crime rings that cross jurisdictional lines.
Getting guns and drugs off our streets
● The Largest Gun Buyback Program in America: The governor's plan will create a new statewide gun buyback program, working with local law enforcement to provide matching grants and safe-disposal opportunities to get guns off our streets and promote awareness of gun violence.
● Holding the Gun Industry Accountable: In light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, the Governor is working with the California Legislature to propose a nation-leading law that would allow private citizens to sue anyone who manufactures, distributes or sells unlawful assault weapons, as well as "ghost guns," ghost gun kits or their component parts.
● Leading the Nation's Gun Violence Research Efforts: When Congress refused to allow America to study the impacts of gun violence, California stepped up. The Real Public Safety Plan includes additional funding for California's nation-leading gun violence research center at UC Davis.
● Intercepting Drugs: The governor's plan will keep drugs off our streets and includes $20 million to support the National Guard's drug interdiction efforts, targeting transnational criminal organizations.
Protecting public safety and addressing organized retail crime has been a top priority for the Administration. Newsom last month directed CHP to increase its presence in highly-trafficked shopping areas through the holiday season to assist allied partners in the apprehension of criminals. In July, the governor took action to extend the California Highway Patrol Organized Retail Crime Task Force, which coordinates with allied law enforcement agencies and district attorneys to identify and prosecute organized theft rings, recover lost merchandise and collaborate with the retail industry to reduce theft and improve safety for shoppers.