By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
We cannot afford to do nothing about retail theft
Juan Alanis
Assemblymember Juan Alanis

Retail theft is not just a problem; it’s a grave public safety threat that is wreaking havoc on our local retailers, customers, and community members. As a California legislator, I am deeply convinced that we cannot afford to stand by and do nothing. While many of the retail theft bills before the Legislature are a serious and real step in the right direction, they are not enough to combat the rampant organized crime and retail theft issues we face.

With nearly 30 years of experience as a deputy with the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department, I have been on the front lines, dealing with these issues from a law enforcement perspective. As your Assemblyman, I am uniquely positioned to create laws and help guide legislation that effectively addresses these public safety issues in the California Legislature.

My bills, AB 1845 and AB 1972 are positive steps toward real solutions. They are strategic proposals to address the resource shortage that law enforcement agencies across our state are grappling with. AB 1845 will establish the Identifying, Apprehending, and Prosecuting Resale of Stolen Property Grant Program, providing crucial funds to support law enforcement agencies and prosecutors. AB 1972 aims to bolster the California Highway Patrol’s property crimes task force to combat organized cargo theft. These bills, which have already received unanimous bipartisan support, are a significant step towards equipping law enforcement with the resources they need to fight against retail theft. 

The safety of the public should not be a partisan issue. When I was elected in 2022, I made a promise to work across the aisle on real solutions whenever and wherever I could. I have diligently built relationships with my colleagues, regardless of party, and that effort has yielded tangible results. I am proud to support a bipartisan legislative package alongside the Speaker of the Assembly Robert Rivas and many of my colleagues. This package is aimed at combating organized crime and theft. As vice chair of the Public Safety Committee, I am heartened to see lawmakers bring forward legislation in an attempt to address the public’s concern about retail theft. 

Passed in 2014, Proposition 47 re-classified certain crimes, such as shoplifting, as misdemeanors if the stolen value was less than $950, up from the previous threshold of $400. Despite its title, the “Safe Schools and Neighborhoods Act,” Proposition 47 has not made our communities safer. Many constituents have called my office demanding the legislature repeal Proposition 47. I understand their concerns, as we know many businesses are shutting down or leaving our state due to severe losses from shoplifting and organized theft. At the same time, law enforcement agencies and prosecutors face challenges in pursuing offenders due to current policies and resource deficits. 

The reality is that because the voters themselves passed Proposition 47 into law, only the voters can choose to change or repeal the law. After a decade of living under the policies of Proposition 47, I believe the voters deserve the right to reevaluate the law and perhaps change their minds. I will always support the voters’ right to weigh in on the laws they live under directly. The people have the right to decide if they want to continue living under the effects of Proposition 47.

While a ballot initiative goes through the process of qualifying for a ballot, I am resolute in my refusal to sit back and do nothing. I am unwavering in my commitment to collaborate with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to enact legislation that improves the lives of all Californians. Everyone deserves to feel safe in their homes, and businesses should be able to operate without the fear that criminals can steal from them without any consequences. That is why I have introduced my two bills this year that address the problem of resources and logistics. We can have all the laws on our books but if we don’t have the resources to enforce them then they are in fact ineffective laws. I will remain steadfast in taking action against retail theft and improving the public’s safety across all of California. 

— Juan Alanis is a Modesto Republican who represents the 22nd Assembly District, which encompasses Ceres.