REDLANDS, Calif. – Redlands Police arrested six suspects during a one-day operation aimed at curbing retail theft.
Why it matters: Redlands police work to deter shoplifting at the Mountain Grove and Citrus Plaza shopping centers, as concerns grow over the state-wide rates of retail crime.
Details: On Thursday, Jan. 25, Redlands police worked with Loss Prevention agents in the shopping centers to run the operation. According to police, six individuals were arrested for shoplifting. The arrests stemmed from three separate incidents, according to city spokesperson Carl Baker.
More than $1,500 of merchandise was recovered and returned to stores, including clothing and electronics, police said.
Zoom out: Last month, State Assemblymember James Ramos announced a new statewide bill (AB1772) aimed at cracking down on repeat retail theft offenses.
The proposed bill would bring about significant changes in how retail thefts are prosecuted. If approved, shoplifting would no longer be processed as a misdemeanor for a suspect with two or more prior theft-related convictions, including grand theft, burglary, robbery, mail theft, and more. The change would mean up to 3 years in jail for repeat theft offenders.
Redlands Police Department supports increased accountability for repeat offenders.
"Retail theft, including shoplifting, smash-and-grabs and organized retail crime are on the rise in our communities. These crimes pose threats to the well-being of businesses, employees and customers and oftentimes are not single, isolated offenses," Redlands Police Chief Rachel Tolber wrote in an email to Community Forward Redlands.
Tolber wrote that AB1772 will allow law enforcement to focus on other public safety issues and community well-being.
Redlands Chamber of Commerce, which represents more than 500 businesses in the community, also supports the measure.
Critics of the bill are skeptical of the "tough-on-crime" approach and raise concerns that the data on rising property crime is not conclusive. The Legislature has asked The Little Hoover Commission, an independent state oversight agency to examine these issues. The report is expected later this year.
Redlands has seen a 11% rise in property crimes including retail theft, since 2020. However, the current rate remains lower than pre-covid numbers.