Cops Say Cali 'Safe Neighborhoods' Law Gave Criminals Never-Before-Seen Boldness
A California law designed to ease prison overcrowding is only emboldening criminals, according to police.
While supporters of the law disagree, facts seem to back up what police officers are saying.
Proposition 47, or the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act, was originally passed in 2014. The law changed the thresholds for felony thefts and drug possession in an attempt to keep more people out of prison.
Police say the law has only emboldened thieves, giving them a “get out of jail free” card for an even larger amount of stolen goods.
“It’s a boldness like we’re seeing never before and just a disregard for fellow human beings,” Vacaville Police Department Lieutenant Mark Donaldson told KMAX.
After Prop. 47 established that criminals could get away with more crime, their tactics evolved to benefit from the law.
Shoplifting gave way to organized retail theft targeting stores near freeways. Traveling in larger groups meant criminals could walk away with more loot, and locations next to major roads facilitated a faster getaway.
Of course, even if they’re caught, many of the criminals know they’re protected under the law and will only be hit with misdemeanor charges.
“They know the law,” Donaldson said.
“One of the first things they ask us,” he said, is, “Can’t I just get a ticket so I can be on my way?”
While it’s debatable if the law led to safer neighborhoods and schools, businesses definitely didn’t benefit from Prop. 47.
According to KMAX, annual loss due retail theft has doubled since 2014 in some areas. Incidents with multiple suspects, like those committed by organized shoplifting groups, are up 40 percent in Vacaville.
Video of some of these brazen daylight crimes being committed are easily found on Facebook and other social media outlets:
But police and concerned citizens are fighting back.
The California Police Chiefs Association and many residents of the extremely liberal state are backing the Keep California Safe initiative, a plan aimed at winding back much of the damage Prop. 47 has caused.
“Prop. 47 changed the dollar threshold for theft to be considered a felony — from $450 to $950. As a result, there has been an explosion of serial theft and an inability of law enforcement to prosecute these crimes effectively,” a fact sheet for the initiative says.
“Theft has increased by 12% to 25%, with losses of a billion dollars since the law was passed.”
Prop. 47 is just one instance of California putting criminals before its own citizens. While it was meant to help reduce prison populations, giving criminals more leeway is simply not the way to accomplish that.
Dangerous criminal justice experiments like this law only work to give criminals more freedom to terrorize businesses and hardworking citizens. It’s time for Californians to take back their state and their laws.
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