Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody held a press conference with state lawmakers on Tuesday to announce legislative efforts to help law enforcement and prosecutors dismantle retail theft rings.
It appears Moody is looking to make sure the state’s current laws are strong enough to punish those involved in organized retail theft.
The press conference precedes the 2022 Florida legislative session, which begins next week, and after Moody last month launched the Florida Organized Retail Crime Exchange – a task force and database that helps law enforcement agencies ‘order, prosecutors and retailers to work together to identify organized retail theft networks. enabling the sharing and searching of information on theft incidents statewide.
“To help strengthen FORCE’s effectiveness, the Florida Attorney General’s office will partner with state lawmakers this session to seek to remove barriers to prosecution for what is clearly organized criminal activity,” the office said. from Moody’s in a press release. “The upcoming legislation will provide a targeted review of current laws determining the crime status for retail theft when a person steals multiple items from multiple locations in a short period of time. These changes would strengthen existing laws to allow prosecutors to impose tougher penalties on criminals who commit crimes statewide to avoid justice. “
According to 2021 Retail Safety Survey, about 69% of retailers said they had seen an increase in organized crime retail activity over the past year.
“We have seen the havoc and mayhem caused by brazen criminals across the country through terrifying armed robberies, and we must continue to innovate to stay ahead of this national crime trend,” Moody said. “Last month I launched FORCE to strengthen our efforts to stop and prevent organized retail crime in Florida and this legislative session I will be working with state lawmakers to ensure our laws are effective in help law enforcement and prosecutors stop thieving gangs from targeting. Our stores. “
Just before Christmas, the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office announced the arrest of 16 people in “Operation Bad Santa”. According to the sheriff’s office, some of those arrested worked together to commit thefts from outlets near St. Augustine during the holiday shopping season. This is an example of what Moody’s trying to suppress.
To learn more about FORCE, click on here.
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