A California Democratic lawmaker is expressing regret for supporting a law that ultimately made it more difficult to prosecute theft and drug crimes.
San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa supported Proposition 47, a 2014 ballot referendum that downgraded several nonviolent felony crimes. The referendum — which passed with nearly 60% approval — made shoplifting, grand theft, receiving stolen property, forgery, fraud, and writing a bad check a misdemeanor crime if the value of the stolen or fraudulent amount is less than $950.
On Tuesday, Canepa declared his support for Prop 47 a "mistake."
"I thought it was a good idea at the time because I thought [that] we need to give people an opportunity, we need to give people a chance," Canepa said, according to KPIX-TV.
"I made a mistake, it was a big mistake, and you have to acknowledge your mistake," he admitted. "By doing this, what we've done is we're letting people take thousands and thousands of dollars. And why should people be subjugated?"
San Mateo County supervisor outlines new proposals to combat organized retail theftwww.youtube.com
At this month's board of supervisors meeting, Canepa will propose creating a law enforcement task force to help tackle organized retail theft, which is a growing problem nationwide.
San Francisco and Los Angeles, though, have been hit particularly hard with incidents of retail theft.
In 2022 alone, retail theft cost U.S. businesses nearly $100 billion in lost revenue. In San Mateo specifically, shoplifting last year spiked "60% higher than the pre-pandemic average," KGO-TV reported.
"Enough is enough! All this retail theft, all this sort of crime. Enough is enough," Canepa said. "We really need to look at state laws. What we have in place right now is not working."
Nearly 10 years ago, supporters of Prop 47 claimed the law would lower incarceration rates for nonviolent offenders and alleviate California's overcrowded prisons. But it took only a few years before the chickens came home to roost, resulting in a sharp uptick in retail theft that was blamed on Prop 47. Now, California has a retail theft problem that has proven nearly impossible to stop.
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