Oregon Senate puts forward two bills aimed at combatting organized retail crime

Published: Mar. 7, 2023 at 10:25 PM PST
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SALEM Ore. (KPTV) - Oregon lawmakers will be holding a public hearing Wednesday for two bills aimed at curtailing organized retail crimes across the state.

Senate bills 318 and 340 were put forth this legislative session; one aims at providing more funding increased enforcement and better communication between Oregon’s Department of Justice, local police departments, and retailers. The other changes Oregon’s current criminal code, and if passed, would make it easier to prosecute criminal organizations involved in organized retail theft.

On Tuesday, the Washington County DA’s Office announced its support for the two bills, with DA Kevin Barton stating, “I am keenly aware of the challenges our community faces from increased organized retail crime. These crimes impact all members of our community, including both large and small businesses and employees and customers alike. As the nature and scope of these crimes evolve, it is important that our laws also evolve to keep pace.”

To read DA Barton’s full statement click here.

This comes as authorities across the Portland metro area are working to crack down on retail thefts in recent months.

In February, Tigard Police and other neighboring agencies conducted a 10-hour blitz, resulting in 14 arrests and the recovery of thousands of dollars worth of merchandise.

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The Tigard Police Department provided the following statement regarding the Senate bills aimed at combating organized retail crime:

“This is a significant issue - not only in our city, but across the metro area - and our patrol officers and Commercial Crimes detectives work hard to deter day in and day out. As a department, we support any changes - legislative or otherwise - that make it less attractive for would-be criminals to engage in Organized Retail Crime.”

Just this past weekend, Portland Police had its second retail theft mission of the year in the Gateway area. PPB says last month during a similar mission, officers arrested 40 people and 60 warrants were served, on top of recovering more than $2,000 of stolen merchandise.

The public hearing for Senate bills 318 and 340 will be held in the Senate Judiciary Committee at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, March 8.

You can watch the hearing here.