Will California Stop Its Soft-on-Crime Approach?

Denise Aguilar Mendez (Courtesy of Bay Area Innovators)

California’s suburbs are experiencing crime at a worrisome level.
Californians are increasingly calling for a change in the state’s soft-on-crime approach. Our guest today is Denise Aguilar Mendez. She became a gang member at a very young age, but is now an advocate for children and for parental rights. She talks about her journey from street gang member to candidate for the state legislature—as well as why California cannot control crime.
“I am shocked every single day. Legislators aren’t in the community telling them what kind of controversial bills are being introduced, they’re not telling [members of the community] how to be effective, how to even engage—we don’t hear from them,” said Ms. Aguilar.
“This isn’t just a San Francisco thing, where [you] ... see people doing drugs on the street. This is happening everywhere: in Stockton, in Tracy, in Manteca, these small communities, there were shootings, there have been kidnappings,” she said.
“Everyone feels unsafe—we cannot even walk down the street without seeing someone with a mental health issue screaming at us, and there’s nothing we can do,” said Ms. Aguilar.
Steve Ispas

Steve Ispas


Steve is an investigative reporter based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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