(CALMATERS) – The cost of living was also a major focal point of a Wednesday event hosted by Californians Against Retail and Residential Theft, a new group composed largely of business associations that aims to educate lawmakers and the public about the “growing wave of theft” it says has been enabled by Proposition 47

Amid high-profile smash-and-grab-robberies and rising voter concerns about crime, Democratic and Republican lawmakers alike introduced a variety of bills to toughen the 2014 voter-approved ballot measure that reduced penalties for certain theft and drug offenses — to no avail

  • David Nelson, director of public policy for the California Asian Chamber of Commerce, told me: “The overarching point, it’s true — it is a political calculation. And I think that’s why we continue to face headwinds within the Capitol. But … look, it is an election year and we are socializing these issues from a political perspective with candidates.” 
  • One particularly powerful argument, the group seemed to suggest: the impact on everyday Californians’ pocketbooks. 
  • Richard Wardwell, president of Superior Grocers and member of the California Grocers Association: “As a business, if I’m making $100 a day in profit and I lose $100 in theft, I now have zero profit. So in order to make a profit, I have to raise retail prices. … So you have the rising cost of fuel, you have the rising cost of labor, you have the rising cost of theft, the rising cost of insurance … If an employee approaches a person stealing and gets hurt, then the worker’s comp component goes into play and that’s a significant impact to the business as well. So all of that relates back to the cost on the shelf and how people can afford to buy it.”