BSCC Issues Grants to Combat Organized Retail Theft

PALM SPRINGS (Sept. 14, 2023) – The Board of State and Community Corrections unanimously approved nearly $270 million in grants to 38 law enforcement agencies and 13 district attorney offices to help fight organized retail theft.
The Organized Retail Theft Grants are a focus of the Governor and part of the state’s effort to protect public safety and combat retail theft that has become more brazen and organized.

These grant programs were designed to provide critical funding and resources to law enforcement agencies and prosecutors working collaboratively.

The $242 million Organized Retail Theft Prevention Grant will fund a variety of crime-fighting programs, including data sharing, surveillance and license plate trackers. Successful applicants had to demonstrate policies to protect privacy and avoid racial and ethnic biases.

Prosecutors funded with the $24.9 million Organized Retail Theft Vertical Prosecution Grant will establish vertical prosecution teams to create continuity, be able to recognize suspects who are suitable for diversion programs and properly address those participating in ongoing organized activity.

The three-year grant period begins Oct. 1, 2023.

The recipients of these grants have demonstrated a commitment to tackling retail theft through innovative strategies to deter, prevent, and respond to organized retail crime.

“This is a huge priority of the Governor and Legislature and we are delighted to put this money out into the field,” said Board Chair Linda Penner.

The grant recipients represent a diverse range of initiatives and programs aimed at reducing organized retail theft and its associated impacts. These initiatives include, but are not limited to:

  • Implementing advanced surveillance technology to monitor high-risk retail areas.
  • Establishing community education and awareness campaigns to inform the public about the consequences of organized retail theft.
  • Enhancing collaboration between law enforcement agencies, retailers, and community organizations to share information and resources effectively.
  • Communities throughout the state can expect to see increased cooperation among agencies, leading to more robust efforts to prevent and combat organized retail theft.

For more information about the Organized Retail Theft (ORT) Grant program and a list of grant recipients, please visit  ORT Theft Prevention Proposal SummariesORT Vertical Prosecution Proposal Summaries and  September 14, 2023 Board Meeting Agenda.

Today’s funding will significantly add to local law enforcement efforts in cracking down on organized retail theft and other types of property crime — including vehicle and catalytic converter theft. Local efforts already are supported by the California Highway Patrol’s Organized Retail Theft Task Force, which successfully dismantles large-scale statewide organized crime operations. Established by Governor Newsom in 2019, the ORCTF has recovered $30.7 million in stolen merchandise, conducted more than 1,850 investigations, and arrested over 1,250 individuals statewide.

Public safety funding in California is at an all-time high. Building on investments to improve officer retention and well-being and the Governor’s Real Public Safety Plan – which focuses on strengthening local law enforcement response, ensuring perpetrators are held accountable, and getting guns and drugs off our streets – California’s 2023-24 budget includes more than $800 million in funding to support multiple programs to improve public safety and crack down on retail crime, including today’s grants.

Read Governor Newsom’s press release.

The BSCC is a state agency dedicated to providing leadership in the planning, development, and implementation of policies and programs in the areas of public safety, community corrections, and juvenile justice in California. Through strategic partnerships and innovative initiatives, the BSCC works to enhance the quality of life for all Californians by promoting safe and thriving communities.

Media Contact: BSCC Communications Director Tracie Cone,