CARRT aims to educate state lawmakers on the severity of the problem
“CARRT is looking to our elected officials to put an end to retail and residential theft on Main Street and in our neighborhoods,” said spokesman Matt Ross at a May 18 online news conference announcing the official launch of Californians Against Retail and Residential Theft.
“Our coalition includes small and ethnic businesses that make up the backbone of our economy, the large retailers, and crime victims’ groups.” Although CARRT seeks to inform and educate as many people and groups as possible, its main efforts will be on the Legislature.”
NFIB California is part of the CARRT coalition, which has grown quickly to include 36 associations. Earlier this year, NFIB joined Californians for Safe Stores and Neighborhoods, which is being led by the California Retailers Association.
CARRT’s news conference drew reporters from ABC10 in Sacramento, CalMatters, CBS8 in Sacramento, and the Northern California Record, to name a few. A video of the entire 38-minute, highly informative news conference can be seen here or by clicking the graphic below. Five panelists assisted Ross in laying out the crisis in stark terms.
- “I get 200 notifications a day that this is happening,” said Richard Wardell of the California Grocers Association about incidents of retail theft, “1,400 of those a week.”
- “The Legislature does need to know, and they need to wake up to the consequences of not giving tools to our law enforcement to address these rising crimes,” said David Nelson, director of public policy for the California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce.
- Indeed, Jamie Keyser, executive director for the Burbank Chamber of Commerce, said there needs to be “more legislation in place at the state level.”
- David Kusa, a board member on the Automotive Service Councils of California, said that although retail theft is not as pronounced among the auto shops of the state, “We are seeing a huge effect on our customers and clients in two areas. The first is catalytic converter theft; the second area is what we call smash-and-grab.”
- The rise in retail theft was called staggering by Julian Canete, president and CEO of the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce. After reminding those attending the news conference the devastating effects the pandemic and supply-chain disruptions have already had on 800,000 Hispanic business owners in the state, “We are fearful that retail theft may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.”
Hasn’t the Legislature Done Anything?
No. Fourteen retail theft bills were introduced this year in the Legislature and all of them have effectively died.
“I don’t think they realize the magnitude of the problem,” said Ross. “That’s why we need to educate them; we need them to come back to their districts and meet with local business owners and find out what’s going on.”
Said NFIB California State Director John Kabateck, “We intend to be a coalition partner second to none in this vital cause. And, we will join any other efforts to crush this growing societal disease of retail theft.”