Sacramento, California – California’s politicians are introducing a series of anti-crime bills in the early days of the legislative session, aiming to combat the perception that Democrats are “soft on crime”. This effort coincides with the 2024 election campaign and a growing public concern about lawlessness.
Car break-ins and thefts have long plagued California cities, with Oakland experiencing an alarming rate of one car stolen for every 30 residents last year. In a rare moment of bipartisanship, Democratic Senator Scott Wiener from San Francisco and Republican Senator Brian Jones from San Diego are supporting a measure to simplify the prosecution of car break-ins. Currently, victims need to prove that their car doors were locked, which can be especially challenging for tourists. Senate Bill 905, Wiener’s third attempt at similar legislation, aims to close this loophole.
Retail theft has also become a major focus for the Legislature. There have been calls to revisit Proposition 47, a controversial measure approved by voters in 2014. Critics argue that Prop. 47 has made it more difficult to prosecute shoplifters. Democratic Assemblymembers Carlos Villapudua of Stockton and James Ramos of San Bernardino have introduced separate measures to revise Prop. 47. Villapudua’s proposal suggests changing the threshold for shoplifting to be a felony, while Ramos’ bill would increase penalties for repeat theft offenders.
Governor Newsom is determined to crack down on property crimes but wants to avoid changing Prop. 47. He is urging lawmakers to create new categories of crimes specifically targeting “professional” offenders who steal property or burglarize vehicles with the intent to resell them. Additionally, Newsom aims to impose harsher penalties on individuals who resell large amounts of stolen goods.
In summary, California politicians are making efforts to combat retail theft and car break-ins, addressing concerns from the public and attempting to dispel the perception that Democrats are lenient on crime. Proposed bills seek to simplify the prosecution process for car break-ins, revise Proposition 47 to make shoplifting a felony, and introduce new categories of crimes targeting repeat offenders. Governor Newsom is pushing for tougher penalties for property crimes without amending Prop. 47. The outcome of these legislative measures will have a significant impact on California’s criminal justice system.