LOS ANGELES (NewsNation Now) — A captain with the Los Angeles Police Department is encouraging community members to do their part to curb retail thefts — by being mindful of where they shop.
“If they see something that’s too good to be true, just think about it twice,” said Capt. Warner Castillo. “Go back to the mom and pop stores and go to a mall and just try to … shop that way.”
Los Angeles is one of the hardest-hit areas in the country for retail thefts. It is an issue NewsNation has been digging into ahead of the holidays.
“We started doing extra patrols at the stores, at the malls,” Castillo said.
The department is also working to inform retailers on how they can improve their security, by doing things such as keeping expensive items in the back and installing more cameras.
Castillo says the most challenging part of investigating these crimes is that it seems like “there’s no consequences.”
“We have a zero bail policy and that means in some instances, we arrest a suspect and they are quickly released from custody after they’re arrested and booked for the crime,” Castillo said.
He said the city put the policy in place to reduce the jail population during the pandemic.
“I’ll give you a quick example. Two years ago, a person arrested for this type of crime would be in custody, and then they will be set to be arranged within 72 hours,” Castillo said. “Today, you know, last week, we arrested 14 individuals. One was a juvenile. And it was a zero bail process. So they were out and about and they’re going to be arranged probably in the next four or five months.”