Bay Area/ Oakland/ Politics & Govt
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Published on February 04, 2024
Alameda County DA Launches Specialized ORCA Unit to Battle Organized Retail Theft in OaklandSource: Google Street View

Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price has rolled out the big guns with the inauguration of the Organized Retail Crime Alameda (ORCA) Vertical Prosecution Unit, a specialized squad aimed at putting a stop to organized retail theft. The new task force, which was put into operation earlier this year, was devised to target and dismantle the organized networks behind a recent wave of retail crime, by joining forces with local law enforcement, retailers, and the smaller shops that line the bustling streets of Alameda County.

According to a detailed bulletin from Alameda County District Attorney's Office, the ORCA team includes two deputy district attorneys, two inspectors, a specialist, and analysts, all dedicated to connecting the dots between incidents, analyzing crime data, and prosecuting crime rings, and they've hit the ground running with $4 million in funding behind them—half from state grants and the other from the DA's own coffers to ensure there's zero slack in their pursuit of justice. Meanwhile, DA Pamela Price is resolute, declaring her intent to clamp down on the market forces feeding this spate of theft, her voice a harbinger of a no-nonsense crackdown.

Assistant Chief Tara Regan Anderson, in an address brimming with resolve, emphasized the importance of this collaboration, "The funding ensures that the ORCA Unit has the dedicated staffing needed to maintain important communication and coordination with our law enforcement partners together, we can leverage data, connect incidents, and ultimately resolve cases, providing a sense of justice for retailers hard hit by retail theft," she was quoted saying in the DA's communication.

It's clear that DA Price and her team mean business—the ORCA unit isn't just talking shop with its high-flown justice jargon, they've been mingling with the merchants, with Chief Assistant District Attorney Otis Bruce Jr. echoing the sentiment from the community, "We have talked to many retailers who are worried and fearful about their businesses and who are happy to know that the DA’s Office is working on holding those responsible for organized retail theft accountable," highlighting the tangible relief that the DA's initiative promises to the beleaguered entrepreneurs. The creation of this vertical prosecution unit dedicated to organized retail theft showcases the Alameda County's answer to what has become a thorny issue for police and shop owners alike—a muscular response for a growing menace.