Newsom Proposes Grants for Law Enforcement to Fight Retail Crime

Governor Gavin Newsom is proposing a new funding package to help local law enforcement and prosecutors combat crime. Friday’s announcement follows a surge in high-profile retail robberies carried out by members of organized criminal networks across California.

Newsom wants to give $285 million in grant money to law enforcement and district attorneys over the next three years, plus $25 million to small businesses victimized by theft. The money will be part of the proposed budget in January. The governor’s plan would also create a permanent Smash and Grab Enforcement Unit.

The proposal shows crime has become a potential vulnerability for Newsom. It’s also a potential vulnerability for Attorney General Rob Bonta, who is facing a re-election challenge from Sacramento County Dist. Atty. Anne Marie Schubert. She has been running social media ads featuring footage of the retail thefts and vowing to “stop the chaos in our criminal justice system.”

An extra $300 million in grants would be nice, but law enforcement and prosecutors have been clear that what they want to see are changes to some of the recent criminal justice reforms. These include Propositions 47 and 57, the end to cash bail, and controversial policies enacted by the district attorneys of Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Former Gov. Jerry Brown seems to agree some policy changes are needed.

“Right now, they give you a ticket and you walk in and you book out. That's because we have no bail and no consequence,” he said in a recent interview with FOX 11.

Newsom does not intend to back down on criminal justice reforms.

“We’re not walking back on our commitment in the state to advance comprehensive reforms,” Newsom said Friday. “We’re not walking back in this state to right the wrongs of the past. We’re not walking back as it relates to the rules and regulations established by the voters and others that I believe are sound and right.”