What we know about the Bay Area’s latest crime problem – Times-Herald

Over the past week, brave groups of thieves riding caravans with dozens of vehicles, swinging hammers, and sometimes holding guns have stormed luxury stores throughout the Bay Area, tens of thousands to numbers. We competed with 100,000 people. Of the dollar of goods.

The crime was partly videotaped, attracting national attention, and actions from local law enforcement agencies and Governor Gavin Newsom, who promised to do a better job to protect retailers. Prompted. The question police and criminologists are now asking is whether this criminal cluster is a sign of a nasty new trend, and if so, what is driving it and how much it is in local and national crime rates. Can it have a big impact?

David Ball, a law professor at Santa Clara University, said the pandemic blockade, social and civil unrest, and widespread economic movement created a situation that needed careful study to answer these questions. Stated.

“These are all really amazing changes,” says Ball. “We need to make sure that the data we are looking at is a signal, not noise. Is this really a new trend?”

As the holiday shopping season goes well, the press puts police, criminal experts, and retailers in the background of these crimes, where the stolen goods go, and what can be done to prevent such theft. Asked to explain.

Is Retail Store Theft Increasing In California?

Rachel Michelin, Chairman of the California Retailers Association, states that San Francisco and Los Angeles are historically one of the top 10 cities in the country to report the most theft losses. As a result, it is difficult to track whether these particular thefts are causing a surge in crime numbers.

According to researchers, the lack of comprehensive data on retail store theft is because the term itself summarizes multiple crimes such as robbery, robbery, and shoplifting.

Data available from the FBI and the Attorney General of California’s office show that robbery and theft continued to decline in 2020, both nationally and within the state. Criminology experts predict that 2021 will see a year-on-year increase in the number of property crimes as the pandemic pushed down most crimes last year.

Dr. Charis Kubrin, a professor of criminology, law and sociology at the University of California, Irvine, said: “I don’t know the answer here.”

What is the difference between the recent mass theft and the past?

Recent thefts are rare in some respects: the large number of people involved, the level of group organizations, and the presence of weapons such as guns and hammers. Police say the caravan, which brings dozens of people to some sites, is also a new development.

Local law enforcement agencies say the group has some coordination on social media, but it is not always centralized. Authorities are investigating whether recent crimes are involved.

When did this start?

Retail organizations and criminologists began to significantly organize retail thefts last summer when people used police violent protests to commit smash-and-grab thefts in places like Walnut Creek and Auckland. I say that.A lot of attention this summer Get the attention of the virus Within a few weeks of each other, there is growing fear that such thefts are on the rise.

Is mass theft more damaging to stores than other shoplifting or retail robbery?

Dr. Jonathan Simon of the UC Berkeley Law School said the case had an element of spontaneity, despite the size of the group that relied on the company.

“These events feel like flash mobs (outdoor or indoor parties) and are very quick, acquireable, and have the opportunity for money-exchangeable crime,” Simon said. .. “It can be a fairly superficial, opportunistic reaction to a very accidental variable.”

It’s too early to determine if the new approach has led to increased financial losses for the store. However, criminal scholars say they are concerned about the use of weapons by thieves.At Walnut Creek, three Nordstrom workers Assaulted The other was sprayed with pepper during a melee attack last weekend, and a suspected robber Injured in a shootout Auckland marijuana pharmacy being stolen.

Is there a real danger to shoppers? What should they do if they witness a mass theft?

In general, law enforcement agencies advise people not to intervene if they witness shoplifting or theft, but instead warn the security and police of stores and malls. This led to recent mass theft arrests in San Jose and Palo Alto. Otherwise, officials say people should feel safe at the beginning of the holiday shopping season.

Is this a Bay Area specific issue?

Large retailers and industry groups claim that the Bay Area is a hotspot for retail crime, but a series of thefts have been reported this fall, including in the Southern California and Chicago areas. resemble To what you see in the bay area.

Without comprehensive data, it is difficult to know how this region is compared to other regions. California retailers report that San Francisco continues to be one of the most expensive markets due to security costs.

Where are the stolen goods going?

Bay Area officials have long stated that large theft rings usually move stolen goods to other states or abroad.

Jeff Rosen, District Attorney for Santa Clara County, said the fencing business to buy and resell stolen assets is underway in a network where his office is “in the process of discovery and removal.” According to Michelin, retailers are also pushing for legislation that will force online marketplaces to be more vigilant to avoid selling stolen goods.

Can these trends result from a lack of penalties for shoplifting in California?

Not definitive. In San Francisco, theft has stimulated debate about prosecution tactics against shoplifting, often referring to Proposal 47, a 2014 referendum that reclassified shoplifting of goods totaling less than $ 950 as a misdemeanor. I have.Recently police chief sharp “Less impact” as a factor in the surge in theft.

However, studies investigating the impact of Proposition 47 on crime rates (including Kubrin) Show that the law is kept to a minimum There is no impact on violent crimes or property crimes.

“We are imminent with these new issues. We don’t fully understand them and it’s not clear what’s causing them. But Proposal 47 is actually here. I’m not the culprit, “Kubrin said.

What’s happening to prevent retail store theft?

Law enforcement agencies are working together to combine social media to increase their presence in stores and investigate cases with surveillance footage. Experts say retailers have been stolen as security presence increases, as in this week’s Palo Alto, where groups reportedly targeted downtown businesses in the face of security guards and police disbanded. You can stop it right now. Some retailers limit their business hours and demand more private security.

From now on, criminal scholars and retailers agree that they need to better understand how groups get together and where goods are sold exactly where.

“This is a long-term process,” Michelin said. “This is not an easy fix.”

What we know about the Bay Area’s latest crime problem – Times-Herald Source link What we know about the Bay Area’s latest crime problem – Times-Herald

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