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How Progressive Laws Turned California into a State for Criminals

State Propositions 47 and 57 promote impunity by considering thefts under $950 as “misdemeanors”

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As mass robberies in California increase, so do the number of criminals who are released without bail, leaving dozens of crimes unpunished in the short term.

The Los Angeles Police Department’s hands are tied in the face of rising crime, as some regulations offer “bail” to those who commit crimes on the streets and are caught in flagrante delicto.

Christiane Cordero, an ABC7 reporter, revealed that “every single one of the 14 people the Los Angeles Police Department has arrested for the mid to late November smash and grab robberies is out custody, mostly out on zero bail.”

Bail became a mechanism to avoid overcrowding prisons, especially with the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, these are serious crimes that go unpunished immediately.

Suspects get released, a court date is scheduled for about “3 months later,” relates Cordero on her Twitter account.

California’s criminal laws are so permissive and blatantly infringe on private property that they give free rein to thefts with minimal punishment.

Rep. Young Kim (R-CA) told El American that California’s retail theft problem “is a direct result of zero bail policies and Proposition 47.”

“Under Proposition 47, theft of an item with a value less than $950 is a misdemeanor, meaning many offenders are immediately released after being processed. In cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco where retail theft is rampant, prosecutors under the direction of District Attorneys turn a blind eye and downgrade felony theft charges to misdemeanors,” she charged.

“Further, because the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office continues a zero-bail policy, people participate in smash-and-grab retail theft, get processed and get put right back out on the street having faced little to no consequences. Small businesses and retailers are hurting as a direct result of these failed policies,” she said. 

Kim noted that she is working to “find ways to support law enforcement, promote public safety and address this rise in smash and grab crimes.”

“I will keep fighting against efforts to defund the police or hinder their ability to effectively operate, and I’ll continue working on the House Small Business Committee to support the small businesses and retailers struggling to operate because of this surge in retail theft,” she added.   

With organized crime and mass theft on the rise, more authorities in California are frustrated with laws that have become a wink and a nod to crime. Capt. Jonathan Tippet, who heads the Los Angeles Police Department’s Robbery-Homicide Division, said thieves who target high-end stores have been emboldened by the perception that penalties for crimes have decreased.

“They find this to be a lucrative enterprise, with consequences they don’t think are that bad,” Tippet explained.

California: a nod to crime

Over the past decade, a series of legislative acts and ballot measures softened the punishments for these crimes. From the administration of former Democratic Governor Jerry Brown, who pushed for “criminal justice reform”, to that of the current Democratic Governor, Gavin Newsom, there has been an unstoppable increase in crime in California.

Last November 20, as many as 80 people stormed a Nordstrom’s branch in Walnut Creek, a Bay Area suburb, using pepper spray on employees while 25 cars blocked the street. That same afternoon, five robbers swooped on a Nordstrom in Canoga Park, Los Angeles, and stole seven high-value handbags.

Another Nordstrom store, located in a posh outdoor mall called The Grove, was ransacked by about 20 people who smashed the windows with a sledgehammer. In the Bay Area on Sunday, November 28, a group of 40 to 50 people smashed the windows of a jewelry store in Hayward, near San Jose, while other thieves ransacked a Lululemon store and a sunglasses store to make off with about $50,000 worth of merchandise.

As Kim discussed, in the state in addition to Proposition 47 passed in 2014. there is also Jerry Brown’s Proposition 57 passed in 2016; these are two laws that so far soften criminal penalties and become a nod to pro-crime.

Proposition 57 was passed in 2016 and allows for parole consideration for non-violent criminals; it also authorizes sentence reductions for rehabilitation, good behavior and education programs, while juveniles charged with a crime who are 14 to 17 years old would not be tried in adult courts unless decided by a juvenile court judge.

Also in 2018, under the Brown administration, California eliminated the finance system allowing offenders to await their trials at large without having to pay any money.

Violent crime on the rise

Last week Jacqueline Avant, 81, an admired philanthropist and wife of music legend Clarence Avant, was murdered in her Beverly Hills home. This is evidence that in addition to mass robberies, violent crime is beginning to sweep the city.

While this is happening, leftist organizations prefer more progressive measures rather than pushing for greater security. The rules favor criminality, leading California to become a state that protects criminals.

Melina Abdullah, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, called Avant’s murder “horrible and appalling.” However, she said officials should not be allowed to use Avant’s death or recent property crimes to push for more policing, cash bail, or other tough-on-crime measures.

Meanwhile, LAPD data speaks for itself: through Nov. 27, 2021, property crimes were up 2.6% compared to the same period last year; likewise, robberies with the use of force were up 3.9% over last year.

Homicides, meanwhile, increased 46.7% compared to 2019, while shooting victims increased 51.4%, according to police data.

It remains to be seen what will happen in California and how authorities will address a situation that seems to be getting out of control; today the state instead of offering security to Americans and business owners seems more like a territory that offers a free hand to crime.

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