In 2014, the voters of California approved Proposition 47 which reduced a number of felonies to misdemeanors. As long as the total value of the stolen property is under $950, shoplifting, grand theft, receiving stolen property, forgery, fraud, and writing bad checks are no longer classified as felonies. A thief may now steal anything under $950 every day and his crimes will never rise to the level of a felony.
California Democrats and the ACLU touted Prop. 47 as a means of using the funds saved by reducing the prison population for the police to go after violent and serious offenders, and for school programs, victim services, and mental-health and drug treatment. Those behind Prop. 47 even mislead the public by titling it the “Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act.”
California law enforcement officials are blaming Proposition 47 for a significant rise in property crimes. San Francisco, the mecca of uber-leftism, has become the nation’s leader in burglary, car break-ins, thefts and shoplifting since Prop. 47 went into effect.
There have been proposals to pass a law similar to Prop. 47 in the Texas legislature. The Democrats, with the help of Republicans, succeeded in reducing car break-ins from a felony to a misdemeanor. A former investigator with the Galveston County Auto Theft Task Force tells me the reduction to a misdemeanor has led to a huge increase in car break-ins.
The move to reduce property crime felonies to misdemeanors is spreading across the country. Rachael Rollins, Boston’s district attorney, has pledged not to prosecute 15 crimes, among them trespassing, shoplifting, thefts under $250, and receiving stolen property. But she went further than that by including charges of drug possession with intent to distribute. And worst of all, she refuses to prosecute resisting arrest charges where that was the sole charge and resisting arrest charges when the arrest was made for any of the 15 crimes on her list.
Dallas district attorney John Creuzot has ‘decriminalized poverty’ by refusing to prosecute theft of personal items worth less than $750 and other misdemeanors that he believes often stem from poverty.
San Antonio’s DA Joe Gonzales has gotten the Sheriff and police chiefs in Bexar County to agree with his ‘cite and release’ policy in which arrests are not made for marijuana possession, misdemeanor theft, driving with an invalid license, and criminal mischief. Additionally Gonzales will not prosecute when the possession of Schedule 1 drugs is less than 0.25 grams. Schedule 1 drugs include heroin and Ecstasy.
To her credit, liberal Harris County DA Kim Ogg has not up to now gone along with the move to decriminalize low-level crimes.
The soft-on-crime wolves in Texas have already reduced car break-ins to misdemeanors. Harris County Republicans and the state Republican Party must be ever on guard to keep those wolves from getting their paws any further in the door, lest Texas becomes just one more San Francisco.
Liberals may refer to them as low-level crimes, but don’t tell that to the victims of these criminals. I remember a liberal professor at College of the Mainland who ranted against how unjust the criminal justice system was. That is until a thief stole his VW bug out of the college parking lot. Then he screamed to high heaven that the thief of his car should be hanged … and he meant it.
I have coined the following phrase: One Low-Level Criminal In Jail Is One Less Criminal On The Streets. That’s something the crime victims of San Francisco would most likely and wholeheartedly agree with.
And finally, here is a lesson from Criminology 101: Today’s low-level, non-violent criminal may be tomorrow’s murderous criminal. That serial hot check writer you try to stop may whip out a pistol instead of a pen, and shoot you dead.