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Nov 03 2019

California’s Proposition 47 Wreaks Havoc

California’s Proposition 47, a referendum that passed 5 years ago, goes into the thick file labeled “Unintended Consequences That Were Easy to Predict.” It effectively legalizes shoplifting if the merchandise stolen would cost less than $950. The effects this has had will surprise only the most foolish.

Via Fox News:

The decision to downgrade theft of property valued below the arbitrary figure from felony to misdemeanor, together with selective enforcement that focuses on more “serious” crimes, has resulted in thieves knowing they can brazenly shoplift and merchants knowing the police will not respond to their complaints, say critics.

Progressives might counter that this helps the politically sacred derelicts and junkies who become ever more numerous in California. Fox News interviewed Cassie, a San Francisco heroin addict:

“If my babies need diapers or formula, who is going to get that for me? No one. I have to do it,” she said. “They ain’t out here arresting people for (shoplifting) and everyone knows it.”

Considering the money it spends to promote homelessness, California probably has whole departments with multi-$million budgets devoted to passing out free diapers for the almost certainly illegitimate offspring of heroin addicts. But with shoplifting decriminalized and the cops told to ignore it, it is probably easier to swipe merchandise and sell it to a fence than it is to navigate the bureaucracy. It is certainly easier than finding a job, even with unemployment at record lows — or at least, easier than keeping a job, if that would require giving up drugs, showing up on time, et cetera.

Supported by the state Democratic Party and championed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the referendum was passed by a wide margin in 2014.

Then came the consequences:

Among the nation’s 20 largest cities, San Francisco now has the highest rate of property crime, which includes theft, shoplifting and vandalism.

Private security is hardly more helpful than the police; it can only “observe and report thefts” — a waste of time. Consequently, thieves go into stores, fill up backpacks with stolen merchandise, go out, dump them, then come straight back in to fill them up again. They bring calculators so as not to exceed the $950 per trip limit.

Enviromoonbattery makes the situation even worse:

California is one of a handful of states that doesn’t hand out plastic shopping bags. To get one, the purchaser has to pay an additional dime. Residents looking to save ten cents and spare the environment typically put merchandise in a purse, backpack or have it in their hand when they walk out, an unintended consequence of which is shoplifters can easily “fit in and walk out” with the paying crowd.

Prop 47 has enabled more than petty crime:

Del Seymour, founder of the non-profit Code Tenderloin, told Fox News that fencers – often from Mexico and Guatemala – set up shop in the middle of the day and night around the city’s United Nations Plaza area. He said he’s also noticed that the stealers and dealers have gotten bolder by the day. The retail heists taking place, he said, aren’t some small-time operation but instead a sophisticated network of international dealers who cross the border to buy stolen goods. What’s worse is that a majority of the handoffs happen in view of San Francisco’s City Hall.

That’s appropriate, not only because the Democrats within helped enable this massive looting spree, but because they are looters themselves.

Hilariously, Prop 47 was called the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act. The only people it made safe are thieves and drug users (certain drug possession felonies were also reduced to misdemeanors). But then, letting criminals run rampant is one way to keep the prison population down.

On a tip from Sean C.




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