Newsom Witnesses Criminal Act Firsthand

Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom of California said in a meeting on Wednesday that he and an employee at Target got into an altercation after he saw someone allegedly shoplifting. Newsom noted that theft is not tolerated under his state’s laws and then asked to speak with management.

During his checkout at Target, California Governor Gavin Newsom stated on Wednesday that he had personally seen shoplifting. However, when Newsom requested that a worker intervene to stop the shoplifter, the employee blamed the governor before realizing the governor was standing before her.

During a Zoom press conference call for Proposition 1, also known as Treatment Not Tents, a mental health ballot issue that will be presented to voters on March 5, Newsom recalled the exchange.

In response to the employee’s allegations that the governor had lowered the threshold and allowed crime to flourish, Newsom reaffirmed California’s position as having the “tenth toughest” policy against shoplifting in the United States.

It should be noted that at the time of the 2014 signing of Proposition 47, Newsom was not governor.

According to Newsom, he preferred to chat with a manager than take a picture. Neither the time nor the place of the incident at the Target store were divulged during the Zoom conference.

In California, shoplifting is a significant issue. Stores in San Francisco, like Target, have locked up various supplies, including gum, toothpaste, and laundry detergent.

In 2014, voters in California approved Proposition 47, which, according to Magnus Lofstrom, Policy Director for the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), reclassified certain non-violent offenses as misdemeanors instead of felonies. This includes shoplifting and grand theft under $950. While shoplifting in the blue state increased by 29% between 2021 and 2022, it was 15% higher in the year Proposition 47 was approved and 8% lower than pre-pandemic levels, according to Lofstrom.

Retailers in California have started to push for stricter punishments for property crimes. According to a press statement from the company, Target closed three shops in the Bay Area of California because of the high crime rate.

Legislators in California have also sought support for AB 1772, a new measure that aims to mandate prison term for a third theft conviction. The proposed legislation would establish punishments ranging from one to three years, depending on the specifics of the offense.