It is reported that crime rates in the state of California more than doubled in California’s major cities in the first half of 2015, violent crime rose by double digits, and property crimes also spiked. According to the FBI data, California’s crime rate is now on the rise after decades of decline.
In the neighboring city of Las Vegas, there has been a reported 66 homicides just this year– up from the 29 homicides in 2015. In Las Vegas specifically, Metro Police Sheriff Joseph Lombardo has stated that there has been an influx of people arrested– mostly with gang ties from California. Robberies, home invasions, and sexual assaults have risen by 22% in the city.
While there are no hard statistics linking the crime to Prop 47, both metro police in Las Vegas and law enforcement in California are blaming Prop 47, which was signed into law in late 2014. Most murder suspects in California also have ties to Las Vegas, so it is not surprising that they would flee to Sin City. Due to the efforts of a joint operation between LAPD and Nevada authorities, 27 parolees who have fled to Las Vegas have been arrested and also returned to California.
What Prop 47 Did
Last year the California Supreme Court also held that Prop 47 applied to minors. Proponents of the criminal reform law say that Prop 37 was intended to reduce sentences and increase investments in drug treatment for low-level offenders, particularly those with drug addiction. By doing so, they were also increasing the space in prisons for the truly violent criminals. The law had also reduced sentences for gun thefts and possession of date-rape drugs and changed a number of property crimes from felony to misdemeanors.
Not Going as Planned?
Opponents have claimed that the effects of Prop 47, which were supposed to increase social services for people, have not had the intended effect. The law does not take into account one’s criminal record, so dangerous people with violent records have been let out early to commit more crimes. For example, under the current law one cannot be charged with a felony as long as he or she steals property worth less than $1,000. This is the case no matter how many times he or she commits the crime.
That being said, it is likely that the legislature may amend the law in the near future to account for some of these things that opponents are claiming to be the cause in the increase in crime rates. Continue reading