Attorney General Chris Carr is working with public and private partners on the local, state and federal levels to combat the surge in organized retail crime targeting retailers and online marketplaces in Georgia and across the country.
These ongoing efforts are enhanced by Governor Brian Kemp’s budget and legislative proposals to create a new Gang Prosecution Unit in the Office of the Attorney General.
“The alarming increase in organized retail crime poses a threat to our safety and economic vitality, and this must stop,” said Carr. “We know that gangs are profiting off of drugs, guns, human beings, cybercrimes and benefits, but they are also engaged in these violent thefts targeting retailers across the country. Our Gang Prosecution Unit will provide us with the authority to prosecute these crimes and to help protect Georgia’s workers, consumers and small businesses. We are proud to continue this fight as we strengthen our efforts statewide.”
Organized retail crime exposes Georgia retail workers to potentially dangerous encounters, puts consumers at risk of unknowingly purchasing expired and defective goods from online marketplaces, and threatens the health and growth of local businesses. This unlawful activity can also be linked to other criminal operations, including human trafficking, drug trafficking, corruption, bribery and money laundering.
Through the Attorney General’s Georgia Anti-Gang Network, statewide law enforcement are already stepping up to curb the rise in organized retail crime by putting bad actors behind bars. Governor Kemp recently attended the Network’s 7th meeting to share his 2022 public safety agenda, including his budget proposal to create a new Gang Prosecution Unit in the Attorney General’s Office. This Unit is complimented by the introduction of HB 1134, which would provide the Attorney General’s Office with concurrent jurisdiction to prosecute criminal gang activity statewide, including organized retail crime. HB 1134 is supported by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Metro Atlanta Chamber and Georgia’s major retailers, including the Home Depot.
To better communicate and work together on this issue, Carr is also hosting roundtable discussions with retailers, online marketplaces, and state and local law enforcement.
In addition, Carr recently convened the first meeting of the Organized Retail Crime Working Group, a bipartisan effort to address the increase in smash-and-grabs and other thefts targeting the retail industry at large. Carr serves as co-chair of the Working Group alongside Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul. Created by the Attorney General Alliance, the Organized Retail Crime Working Group brings together public and private partners to share information regarding organized retail crime, including best practices, law enforcement strategy, legislative initiatives, current trends and statistical data. These discussions are intended to foster and strengthen cooperation among state attorneys general, their staff and private businesses.