The Los Angeles wave of retail theft spreads to The Grove

Popular destination avoids ‘flash-mob’ robberies, but shoplifting incidents increase

Illustration of a faceless woman taking a necklace from a store


The Grove is one of the most popular shopping and tourist destinations in Los Angeles. A February Vanity Fair article reported that 18 million people a year visit the pedestrian-oriented, open-air complex.


Yet shopping and dining is not the only thing happening in large numbers at the attraction in the Fairfax neighborhood. This year, the complex owned by billionaire developer Rick Caruso is recording more crime reports than at any time in the past.


According to publicly available Los Angeles Police Department data, there were 45 crime reports at The Grove in August, following 42 in July. 


From 2017, when LAPD data for The Grove first became publicly available, through November 2022, there were never more than 27 crime reports in a single month. That figure has been eclipsed seven times in the last nine months.


Line chart of monthly crime reports at The Grove, 2021-Aug. 2023


From Jan. 1–Aug. 31, there were 278 crime reports at The Grove. That represents a 183% increase from 98 incidents in the same period last year. The first eight months of 2023 have already surpassed the number of reports in any previous full year in which data was available.


Bar chart of annual crime reports at The Grove

Issue in the mayor’s race

The numbers at The Grove are notable in part because, during his failed run for mayor last year, Caruso made crime a prominent campaign issue. During a Sept. 22, 2022 debate with Karen Bass, he proclaimed that Angelenos, “just don’t feel safe. They don’t feel safe to go for a walk. People are taking off their jewelry before they go to dinner.”


A representative for Caruso’s company declined to comment for this story.


[Get crime, housing and other stats about where you live with the Crosstown Neighborhood Newsletter]


The majority of incidents at The Grove have involved thefts of relatively low value. According to police data, nearly 60% of the crime reports in the first eight months of 2023 were for petty theft shoplifting, with the worth of stolen goods below $950. Another 38 incidents were classified as grand theft shoplifting, meaning the value exceeded $950. That is classified as a felony.


As Crosstown previously reported, shoplifting in the city reached unprecedented levels this spring and early summer, with monthly counts far above pre-pandemic levels.


There were nine reports of pickpocketing at The Grove in the first eight months of the year, and six car break-ins. There were also three reports of vandalism.


Table of most common crimes at The Grove


Violent crimes at the mall are rare. There have been six robbery reports this year. Two incidents at the complex involved handguns.


High-profile thefts

The rising crime numbers at The Grove come as Los Angeles has endured a series of high-profile “flash mob” robberies. That includes the brazen Aug. 12 theft of a Nordstrom in the Westfield Topanga Shopping Center, by more than 30 masked individuals. 


None of the headline-grabbing incidents have occurred at The Grove. However, three days before the Nordstrom heist, a band of 30-40 thieves stole more than $300,000 worth of merchandise from an Yves Saint Laurent store in the Americana at Brand in Glendale, another outdoor mall owned by Caruso.  


Department store crimes across Los Angeles have reached historic levels this year. According to police data, during the first eight months of 2023 there were 3,361 crime reports at the establishments. That is a 123% increase from the same time last year.


Yet in July and August, as crime reports rose at The Grove, they went down overall at Los Angeles department stores. According to police data, after 470 incidents in June, there were 382 in August.


The rise in complaints from store owners, and the thefts that garnered national attention, prompted regional law enforcement and political leaders in August to form a multi-agency Organized Retail Crimes Task Force. On Sept. 19, LAPD Chief Michel Moore told the Los Angeles Police Commission that the unit has made 40 arrests. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, another agency involved in the task force, last week secured an additional $15.6 million from the state to fight retail theft.


How we did it: We examined publicly available crime data from the Los Angeles Police Department from January 1, 2017–Aug. 31, 2023. Learn more about our data here.


LAPD data only reflects crimes that are reported to the department, not how many crimes actually occurred. In making our calculations, we rely on the data the LAPD makes publicly available. LAPD may update past crime reports with new information, or recategorize past reports. Those revised reports do not always automatically become part of the public database.


Have questions about our data or want to know more? Write to us at