An unusual video went viral demonstrating how stealing in California has now become normalized. Thieves seem to have the “freedom” to do so without being punished.
Citizens in San Francisco report that, in broad daylight and without fear, people with their faces covered rob drugstores, clothing stores and supermarkets without being arrested.
Security guards and business owners stand idly by as witnesses during the robberies.
The most recent incident was reported by ABC News reporter Lyanne Melendez, who filmed, along with a drugstore security guard, a man who filled a garbage bag with products and then fled the scene on his bicycle without a care in the world.
According to Melendez, this has been a recurring scene for months in the city. A situation that has forced the closure of businesses such as GAP clothing stores, which practically closed all its stores in San Francisco.
Why does this happen California?
Adding to the rise in crime in California is the fallout from Proposition 47, which reduced the category of “misdemeanors” to non-violent thefts of goods totaling less than $950.
In 2014, California voters passed Proposition 47, also known as the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act. The rule states that the theft of the goods when the amount does not exceed that sum can only be punishable as a misdemeanor theft with a maximum of 6 months in jail. However, distrust towards the authorities has generated that employees and businessmen refrain from calling the police to attend to the situation.
“Do not attempt to confront or stop a shoplifter or try to follow them out of the store, as most of the time security personnel are only injured and the police are too late to file a report,” states the Walgreens Employee Handbook, according to the news portal Vive USA.
Asha Safaí, a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, commented on her social media that there is a vast retail theft network in the city that supplies organized crime with medicines and accessories, and even sells stolen products on the city’s sidewalks, often next to the stores that are victims of thieves.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that theft at Walgreens pharmacies is four times higher than at other branches in the country and the chain loses an average of $1,000 a day.
According to the Public Policy Institute, four of California’s major cities (Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego and San Francisco) have experienced a marked increase in homicides and auto thefts.
A report in The Epoch Times notes that “law enforcement reports that many thieves now calculate to take enough to stay below the $950 Proposition 47 threshold.”
“They can repeat the same theft up to the same $950 threshold as many times as they wish without it becoming a felony. The thefts are not cumulative,” the news outlet notes.