Los Angeles Creates Task Force To Fight Rise Of Smash-And-Grab Robberies

Los Angeles has launched the Organized Retail Crimes Task Force to combat the skyrocketing number of retail thefts in the city — especially organized smash-and-grab robberies.

The task force was announced on Thursday by Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass (D) and the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), in partnership with several other law enforcement agencies.

The announcement comes after a chaotic week that included two smash-and-grab robberies in the Los Angeles area involving large groups of people. One of these robberies went viral on social media, as the video showed a mob of around 50 people dressed in all black — wearing hoodies and masks to avoid being identified — rampaging through a Nordstrom store. These thieves stole roughly $100,000 in luxury merchandise from the store, some of which was still attached to the display — dragging the rack behind them as they ran from the store. At least one security guard was attacked with bear mace during the incident.

The other incident happened at an Yves Saint Laurent store in Glendale — just north of Los Angeles — in broad daylight, where 30 to 40 thieves stole roughly $300,000 in merchandise, according to police.

During the press conference announcing the new task force, Bass stated: “What we’ve seen over just the past week in the City of Los Angeles and in surrounding regions is unacceptable, which is why today we are here announcing action.”

“These are not victimless crimes — especially in the case where Angelenos were attacked — through force or fear — as they did their jobs or ran errands,” she continued, adding that the task force will “aggressively investigate” these robberies and hold the perpetrators “fully accountable.”

LAPD Assistant Chief Dominic Choi also spoke during the press conference, where he noted that retail theft doesn’t just affect businesses financially — as it also has a broader impact on the “overall well-being of our community.”

“Together, we can create an environment where our streets and businesses are safe from the scourge of retail theft,” Choi added.

Los Angeles has faced skyrocketing retail and personal theft in recent month, with at least 170 organized retail thefts being reported in Los Angeles County since the fall of 2021, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office.

This problem has been largely attributed to the soft-on-crime policies in Los Angeles and California as a whole, as the Democrat politicians in the state have largely decriminalized theft with Proposition 47 — a law approved by voters in 2014 that made theft of merchandise under $950 a misdemeanor that is often not even investigated, let alone prosecuted. Beyond that, the state’s far-left prosecutors rarely force shoplifters to face the consequences of their crimes.