FRESNO, CA (KMJ) — Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislature to crack down on crime up and down the state.
Newsom signed AB 331 into law on Wednesday, which would extend the sunset date on prosecuting organized retail theft.
The law also extends the California Highway Patrol’s Organized Retail Crime Task Force, which enlists local law enforcement, too.
Crime theft rings have struck Fresno businesses repeatedly, most recently in March.
“You’re seeing them all across California – those organized efforts, we want to go after those rings,” ” said Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Speaking to KMJ’s Broeske and Musson Show on Thursday, Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama said Sacramento needs to go further.
Chief Balderrama said that he and Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer attended a roundtable discussion with other mayors and police chiefs from up and down the state prior to the Governor signing that law.
The police chief said that the loosening of laws and punishments during COVID was detrimental to Fresno and other law agencies in California.
Chief Balderrama said that while the Governor’s extension of the Retail Crime Task Force is good, there needs to be harsher consequences to crime, and he questions to zero bail policy.
Also speaking to the Broeske and Musson Show on Thursday, Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims said Governor Newsom needs to be focusing on Proposition 47, which voters passed in 2014, and has given incentive for criminals to commit crie, knowing there won’t be harsh punishment, and they will be back out on the streets in no time.
“As long as they’re under $950, they can do this over and over and over again,” said Mims. “It’s always going to be a misdemeanor. They’re not held accountable.”
Mims said the governor is realizing the recall is real, and I think he’s realizing that the cause for it, in part, are the soft on crime stances that he has taken.
The Fresno County District Attorney’s Office also commented on Wednesday’s signing, saying the following:
“By enacting AB331, the governor seems to recognize that this problem isn’t going away and that law enforcement and prosecutors need every available mechanism to hold these criminals accountable for the betterment of public safety.”
The state currently has three of these task forces, however, none of them are in the Central Valley.
Listen to the report by KMJ’s Liz Kern.