California has a reputation in some circles as an abyss of rampant crime, where the authorities look the other way to provide a sanctuary for criminals. While this may not represent the actions of most Californians, a new study shows that crime has been rising in the Golden State over the last four years.
In 2014, California introduced Proposition 47, which reduced some felony crimes to misdemeanors. A report by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) confirmed that the proposition can be linked to a rise in theft. Before Prop. 47, thefts from autos ranged between 16,000 and 17,000 per month in the Golden State. Since the proposition passed, however, that number has increased to a range of 19,000 to 20,000 per month.
According to the PPIC:
We find some evidence that Proposition 47 affected property crime. Statewide, property crime increased after 2014. While the reform had no apparent impact on burglaries or auto thefts, it may have contributed to a rise in larceny thefts, which increased by roughly 9 percent (about 135 more thefts per 100,000 residents) compared to other states. Crime data show that thefts from motor vehicles account for about three-quarters of this increase.
One of the major goals behind the proposition was to reduce recidivism rates and according to the PPIC, it has worked. The rearrest rate dropped by 1.8 percentage points while the re-conviction rate is now 3.1% lower, due to Proposition 47. Overall changes over the past four years are actually closer to a 10% drop in rearrest and re-conviction rates, however, the report attributes much of these decreases to other factors such as law enforcement practices:
Our findings suggest that the measure reduced both arrests by law enforcement and convictions resulting from prosecutions by district attorneys. However, we are not able to separate the reform’s effects on re-offending from its effects on the practices of criminal justice agencies.
Liberty Nation reported on the precise details of the proposition, as well as possible racial motivations behind it. Regardless of the reasons behind the proposition, California voters blindly followed politicians down a path toward chaos. Prop. 47 passed with 60% of the vote, but the state’s citizens didn’t stop to consider that reducing the seriousness of a crime’s status doesn’t prevent it from happening.
Are there fewer rearrests? Of course, now that the offenses are not considered felonies. Are there fewer re-convictions? Again, nobody can be convicted of a felony that doesn’t exist. This doesn’t mean, however, that these same crimes are not being committed. Michelle Hanisee, the president of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys group, which is opposed to the proposition, told the San Francisco Chronicle that because the police are less likely to follow-up on misdemeanors compared to felonies. “Police can arrest for a felony not in their presence” but not for a theft that is now classified as a misdemeanor. “For people whose car gets burglarized, the police can do nothing.”
So, tell us again how Prop. 47 works?