Politics

California Democrat Regrets Backing Liberal Crime Bill Amid Retail Theft ‘Epidemic’

Authored by Tom Ozimek via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Citing an “epidemic” of retail theft, a county supervisor in California’s Bay Area mentioned he made a “big mistake” in backing the liberal crime invoice Prop. 47 a decade in the past, that drastically diminished penalties for stealing items valued at lower than $950.

A police automotive sits parked in entrance of the Westfield San Francisco Centre, in San Francisco, Calif. on June 14, 2023. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa just lately took to X, previously Twitter, to precise deep disappointment with present methods in California for coping with an explosion of retail theft, which he known as an “absolute outrage.”

Whatever we’re doing now to combat the epidemic of organized retail theft is not working,” Mr. Canepa mentioned within the publish. “$30 billion lost to national retail theft is an absolute outrage! The fear of organized retail theft is driving people away from our beloved shopping centers.”

According to the most recent information from the National Retail Federation (NRF), retail theft and different stock loss—often known as shrink—rose to $94.5 billion in 2021 from $90.8 billion in 2020.

The greatest a part of the losses (37 %) got here from exterior theft, in line with the NRF report, which quantities to roughly $35 billion.

Violence is an increasingly important concern among retailers,” together with shootings and assault, the report reads. “As has been detailed throughout this report, external theft and [organized retail crime] in particular, is a significant and growing area of concern for retailers.”

Products are displayed in locked safety cupboards at a Walgreens retailer that was set to be closed within the coming weeks in San Francisco on Oct. 13, 2021. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Mr. Canepa mentioned in a follow-up post that he plans to introduce laws to type a process drive in San Mateo County, comprised of regulation enforcement and enterprise group members, which might provide you with new methods and sentencing pointers “to combat these organized theft rings to enhance public safety and protect the economy.”

In an interview with CBS, the Democrat county supervisor mentioned that he regrets backing Prop. 47, which handed in 2014, which downgraded sure thefts and drug offenses from felonies to misdemeanors.

‘I Made a Mistake’

Mr. Canepa mentioned that he initially backed Prop. 47 as a result of he noticed it as an opportunity to present folks serving lengthy sentences for retail theft a second probability.

One of essentially the most well-known statutes in Prop. 47 raised the minimal quantity of stolen items from $400 to $950 for a theft case to be categorized as a felony, which critics contemplate to be the principle reason for an increase in petty theft throughout the state.

The liberal crime invoice additionally permits felons presently serving jail phrases to petition for diminished sentences below the brand new classifications.

I thought it was a good idea then because we need to give people an opportunity, we need to give people a chance,” Mr. Canepa informed CBS.

But now, with the explosion of retail theft in California and elsewhere, he says he was mistaken to again the measure.

“I made a mistake, it was a big mistake, and you have to acknowledge your mistake. By doing this, what we’ve done is we’re, letting people take thousands and thousands of dollars. And why should people be subjugated?” Mr. Canepa mentioned.

“We can’t go on like this,” he added.

Retailers Facing ‘Near Extinction’

Mr. Canepa informed Fox News that felony mobs had “taken advantage of Prop. 47 because they know that if they do get arrested, they can simply walk out of jail the next day and only face misdemeanor charges,” whereas urging lawmakers to reevaluate the classification of what constitutes a felony.

If we don’t, then our shopping centers and retail giants such as Nordstrom face near extinction as they are continually looted by mobs of criminals and create a climate of fear for shoppers,” he informed the outlet.

The nationwide retail crime wave has pressured many retailers to shut their doorways or lock up their merchandise.

Among them is Nordstrom, which introduced in May that it was closing its flagship retailer in downtown San Francisco after 35 years in enterprise, with the corporate citing “unsafe conditions for customers, retailers, and employees.” remove

Matt Dorsey, a member of San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors, mentioned in a publish on X reacting to information of the Nordstrom closure in May that he was “very disappointed” to see yet one more enterprise shut its doorways within the Democrat-run metropolis.

Mr. Dorsey mentioned he would suggest a Charter Amendment (pdf) that seeks to bolster regulation enforcement, together with by re-establishing minimal police staffing ranges, in a bid to counteract a number of the hurt performed by the post-George Floyd push to “defund” the police.

Ineffective Law Enforcement

Rich Cibotti, a sergeant within the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) informed The Epoch Times in a recent interview that he believes present police staffing woes might be traced again to the “defund the police” motion.

“The ‘Defund’ movement caused a lot of people to rethink joining and staying in law enforcement. The SFPD lost hundreds of officers to other departments, resignations, early retirements, and normal retirements,” Mr. Cibotti informed The Epoch Times, noting that he was sharing his private opinions and didn’t converse on behalf of his division.

Mr. Cibotti mentioned police hiring takes about two years, which means that present staffing shortages can have massive impacts down the street.

He added that pay raises can assist drive curiosity in becoming a member of the drive, however cautioned that larger wages will not do something to counteract what he advised was political hostility in direction of policing in San Francisco.

San Francisco is rather difficult politically for the police. To fix that issue, a major shift in policy and public support will be needed to help increase interest in joining the police department,” he mentioned.

Meanwhile, a recent effort by a Democrat lawmaker to change Prop. 47 by means of an modification invoice failed for the fifth time earlier this yr.

“I guess we really are dependent on Batman to bring accountability and justice. Perhaps maybe we should call the Avengers too,” the writer of the invoice, Assemblyman Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove), wrote on X on April 26. 

Assembly Bill (AB) 2718 would have categorized petty theft and shoplifting as “serial theft,” a brand new crime below the invoice. 

Serial theft of property valued over $500 would have led to prosecution if the offender had two or extra earlier convictions of theft—successfully decreasing the $950 minimal enforced in Prop. 47, according to the bill.

Puzhen Su and Vanessa Serna contributed to this report.

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