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Analysts Discuss Reasons Behind California’s Crime Epidemic

Analysts Discuss Reasons Behind California’s Crime Epidemic

Pedestrians walk by a closed Whole Foods store in San Francisco on April 12, 2023. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Puzhen Su

Puzhen Su

8/14/2023

Updated: 8/14/2023

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It is no secret that California has been hit by increasing amounts of crime and violence, especially in cities. From raids of high-end stores to robberies at gas stations, more and more incidents of crime are reported on a daily basis.
Political analyst and California resident Lou Barberini believes that the policies being implemented in the state have hamstrung police officers while reducing sentences for certain illegal acts.
Mr. Barberini pointed to the state’s Proposition 47 as one of the leading causes of crime in California. He said Proposition 47 opened the door for cities to pursue more lax criminal policies.
He told The Epoch Times that San Francisco in particular “is now exploring disallowing police officers from following gangsters’ Facebook pages and to start monitoring police officers chasing criminals in foot chases. The reasoning behind moving towards monitoring police foot chases is the progressives are concerned the officers might get injured.”
Proposition 47 was first passed by voters in 2014 and recategorized some felonies as misdemeanors. This includes shoplifting, grand theft, receiving stolen property, forgery, and fraud, provided the value involved is under $950.
Since then, Los Angeles and San Francisco have experienced increased rates of petty crime. For instance, auto-part thefts have more than doubled, from around 2,100 to over 5,000 between 2019 and 2021 in Los Angeles. In San Francisco, vehicle theft has increased over 70 percent between 2019 and 2022.

Ineffective Law Enforcement

Rich Cibotti, a sergeant in the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) who does not speak on behalf of the department but shared his personal opinions, seems to share a similar perspective with Mr. Barberini.
Mr. Cibotti said he believes that current police staffing woes can be traced back to the “Defund the Police” movement.
“The ‘Defund’ movement caused a lot of people to rethink joining and staying in law enforcement. The SFPD lost hundreds of officers to other departments, resignations, early retirements, and normal retirements,” he told The Epoch Times.
The Defund the Police movement was sparked by the death of George Floyd in 2020.
Mr. Cibotti said that the election of Chesa Boudin as San Francisco district attorney “caused even more harm and made more people leave the police department.”
“The effects of his tenure are still being dealt with as prosecutions of cops are finally being dropped after years of litigation,” Mr. Cibotti said.
During Mr. Boudin’s management, San Francisco underwent a sharp rise in some crimes; burglary rose by 46 percent according to a report by the SF Examiner.
He is also known for releasing criminals who went on to commit further crimes. This includes Jerry Lyons, a man who was released amid charges of driving under the influence and who later killed a pedestrian while running a red light.
Mr. Boudin himself theorized that the increase in crime was caused by pandemic-related angst. He also characterized breaking into vehicles as much less severe than breaking into residences, in a virtual community forum.
Mr. Cibotti said police hiring takes about two years, meaning that current staffing shortages can have big impacts further down the road.
He believes that a new wave of SFPD wage raises can help alleviate problems. However, he highlighted another problem.
“San Francisco is rather difficult politically for the police. To fix that issue, a major shift in policy and public support will be needed to help increase interest in joining the police department,” he said.
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Puzhen Su

Puzhen Su

Author

Puzhen is a reporter based in the San Francisco Bay Area, and he covers Northern California news.

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