One reason for this increase can be traced back to Prop 47, which voters approved last November. Prop 47, in effect, lowered many crimes from a felony to a misdemeanor.
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In Los Angeles County alone, property crimes are up 12%, violent crimes up 27%, burglaries are up 26% and car thefts are up 20%, since this initiative passed.
Assistant Sheriff Michael Rothans, who is the supervisor for street patrols for Los Angeles County, is painfully aware of the connection between increased crime and Prop 47.
He says it is happening because under Prop 47, criminals are out of custody when they "should have been in jail."
Here are some examples:
Possession of heroin or cocaine for personal use is now a misdemeanor.
Since Prop 47 lowered hard drug possession, in many cases police have decided the penalties given to these offenders do not make it worth arresting them.
Not surprisingly, arrests for drug possession in L.A. County are down 38%.
Property theft -- if under $950 -- is now a misdemeanor.
For instance if someone steals a gun and is caught, that person may not face anything more than a ticket.
Hence the increase we are seeing in various offenses.
Even more outrageous, Prop 47 made so many felonies into misdemeanors, that collection of DNA is way down.
Under current law, DNA can only be collected from felons.
Therefore many crimes are going unsolved, because of the lack of DNA samples.
When this initiative was proposed, the thinking at the time was that by reducing these crimes to misdemeanors -- it would solve the overcrowding problem California has in its jails and prisons.
However, overcrowding is not a reason to simply not incarcerate criminals.
I'm sure all of law enforcement is exasperated by the consequences of Prop 47.
Governor Brown please support legislation to reform Prop 47.
Even better, Governor Brown, you should advocate a ballot initiative to repeal Proposition 47.
What is more important than the safety of all Californians?
Thanks for listening.
What do you think? We want to hear from you about this P.O.V. segment. Share your thoughts in the comments section below or email me directly at POV@fox11.com.
Kevin T. Hale,
Vice President and General Manager
KTTV-TV, FOX 11 News
The views expressed are not necessarily those of the station or its employees.
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