California voted to go easy on criminals — this is how crime is doing 3 years later

California voted to go easy on criminals — this is how crime is doing 3 years later
Law enforcement officials are blaming the rise in crime in California on the implementation of laws designed to lower incarceration rates by easing mandatory punishments. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

In 2014 the voters of California went to the polls and approved a proposition that would ease the overpopulation in jails and prisons by loosening law enforcement standards on crime. They were told this would have little effect on crime itself. That’s not what happened.

Three years later, some local law enforcement officials are blaming proposition 47 for a drastic increase in crime in California. According to KTTV-TV, arrests are down 30 percent since the new law, but violent crime is up an incredible 40 percent in Los Angeles.

According to preliminary estimates, the Inland Empire region in California rose from ranking 9th in the nation in vehicle thefts to 5th (per 100,000 population) in just one year — from 2015 to 2016.

Riverside police Sgt. Sean Brown blamed the change in the law for the increase in crime. “The punishment is very minimal,” he said. “If nobody goes to jail for committing a crime, what’s to prevent them from committing more crimes?”

Ontario police Sgt. Jeff Higbee said that because of the new laws, there was “little to no jail time associated with a single theft.”

California Assemblyman Matt Harper told Fox News in April he believed the laws led directly to a rise in crime. “California is certainly having a significant problem with the increase of crime in our state,” he said. “The only thing that’s really showing a difference in terms of how we approach crime and criminals is this change in our law allowing people to be able to go out on the streets, which previously they would have stayed in prison and not be committing crimes.”

“To play these nonviolent offender games [is] a recipe for disaster,” he concluded.

The proponents of proposition 47 called it the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act. It passed by with nearly 60 percent approval by the voters.

New findings are raising additional concerns over Proposition 47, a law designed to cut prison sentences for many nonviolent offenses. Andrea Fujii reports.

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