State lawmakers hope to provide protections for retail businesses that report theft to authorities.

The City of Sacramento, California threatened to fine a popular retail store for public nuisance over numerous calls to police after thieves repeatedly targeted its Land Park location, according to a report.

The Sacramento Bee reported that officials warned they would fine the Target at 2505 Riverside Boulevard in Land Park during the past year. A police spokesperson confirmed the location.

Sacramento Officials Threaten Target for Calling Police on Thieves
The office of Sacramento City Attorney Susana Alcala Wood reportedly threatened to fine a local Target for reporting theft, labeling the reports as a public nuisance.

In response, state lawmakers added an amendment to a retail theft bill outlawing such threats from authorities. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas, and Senator Mike McGuire are pushing 14 bills to tighten penalties on retail theft offenses.

Gov Gavin Newsom
California Gov. Gavin Newsom faced sharp criticism after describing the state as a “national model” for addressing homelessness.

California’s Secretary of State announced last month that a measure to reform Proposition 47, which loosened penalties for drug and theft crimes in 2014, would be on the November ballot. Legislators are debating bills to address crime, which critics argue are a “poison pill” to discourage voting on Prop 47 reform.

“Newsom keeps insisting that reports of theft are dropping – well now we know why. Not only are thieves let off without even a slap on the wrist, but now the victims are being threatened for even reporting crimes,” said California Assembly GOP Leader James Gallagher.

Criminal defense attorney Nicole Castronova criticized lawmakers for leaving citizens vulnerable and allowing crime to flourish. She noted that retailers are being victimized by both thieves and the government.

Alexander Gammelgard, president of the California Police Chiefs Association, expressed surprise that anyone would attempt to make a nuisance case out of reporting a crime. He emphasized that there is no place for such actions.

City officials reportedly created a plan with Target to address theft issues, including security measures like alarms, cameras, and personnel. Sacramento City Councilman Rick Jennings II, city police, and the city attorney’s office met with the store to develop a safety plan.

Sacramento Officials Threaten Target for Calling Police on Thieves
A large group of 30-50 individuals was caught on video ransacking a Nordstrom at Topanga Mall in Los Angeles on Aug. 12. Authorities have arrested 11 suspects connected to four smash-and-grab thefts.

Sacramento State University criminal justice professor Blake Randol found the situation disconcerting, emphasizing the city’s responsibility to help residents and businesses. He suggested that officials might issue warnings to make it appear that crime statistics are going down.

Sacramento Police
Sacramento police responded to numerous theft calls at a local Target store, leading city officials to reportedly warn the store that it could face fines.

In 2023, Sacramento’s three Target locations had 375 calls for service for theft, robbery, and shoplifting, compared to 80 such crimes reported by Sacramento police.