Valley leaders join Governor Newsom to address skyrocketing retail theft rates in California


FRESNO, California. (KGPE) – Governor Gavin Newsom addressed the state’s skyrocketing crime Wednesday while hearing from Central Valley leaders.

Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama took part in a roundtable, meeting digitally with the governor for the first time.

He said Newsom was very supportive of law enforcement and listened to his concerns. Balderrama said he told Newsom he feels there’s a lack of consequences for criminals. He is hopeful they’ll start seeing some more support from Sacramento.

Recent smash-and-grab videos from Fresno show just how bold retail thieves have become. Stores such as Strut Hair Solutions on Blackstone was recently hit three times in just over a month.

And it’s a scenario that’s not uncommon. David Delatorre said his Chinatown bike shop has now also been burglarized three times.

“It was pretty devastating at first, you know they broke in and I had to cover some expenses. The first two times they broke windows and I wasn’t even able to afford to buy new windows.”

Newsom signed a bill Wednesday aimed at curbing organized retail thefts. The California Highway Patrol retail crime task force will work with local agencies on identifying and prosecuting these criminals.

“Organized crime retail theft has become a 30-billion dollar criminal industry,” Amanda Ray the CHP commissioner said.

Balderrama was able to share his concerns with Newsom.

“It’s not uncommon that we arrest the same violent offender twice in one day. So the public expects for us to make the community safer and that’s very hard to do when there’s no consequences for violent crime. So those are some of the frustrations I personally expressed to him,” he said.

Delatorre said he’s upgraded his security camera system reinforced and added additional locks, but he still worries every day.

“It’s scary. It’s scary because sometimes I go out of town and if I’m out of town who’s going to be there to go to my shop and make sure it’s secured,” he said.

Balderrama said many of the state’s Police Chiefs are progressive and constantly looking for better ways of operating, but they’re going to need funding and support from the state.

“It is very frustrating because it’s not because of a lack of ideas, or a lack of effort or a lack of accountability. It’s a lack of support from the system, so that’s going to have to change,” he said.

The bill signed by Newsom today will extend the retail theft task force until January 1, 2026. A website will also launch for retailers and citizens to report tips directly to the CHP.

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