If you want to be a criminal, your best bet is to find a blue state and move there.
We have chronicled what a joke the New York criminal justice system has become, especially since to-called “reforms” became law on Jan. 1.
California to New York? “Hold our beer, we’ve got this…”
In the Golden State, where liberals have been running rampant for years and removed almost any semblance of criminal justice, an epidemic of car burglaries has overtaken the state. This has one Democratic lawmaker proposing the plugging of a loophole in existing law that allows most car break-ins to go unpunished. Of course, social justice warrior lawmakers in the legislature have balked at the request of state prosecutors to make obtaining convictions easier.
Currently, prosecutors must prove that a car’s doors were locked at the time of the break-in. The proposal would remove that requirement, however for two years in a row, the proposal has been held up in legislative committees. Liberal lawmakers, always throwing down with the criminals, and bowing to public pressure to enact criminal justice reform, do not want to do anything to act like they actually care about so-called “minor” crimes.
Think about this for a minute. You can literally have someone who witnesses someone breaking a window to get into a vehicle and unless you can “prove” that the doors were locked, you are unable to get a conviction? Talk about the Twilight Zone!
State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) said, “It’s ridiculous that under current law you can have video of someone bashing out a car window, but if you can’t prove that the door is locked, you may not be able to get an auto burglary conviction.”
One police officer, who has asked to remain anonymous, shared with Law Enforcement Today the response he was given when he questioned the logic behind the law.
“I was told it’s ‘discriminatory and racist in its very nature to assume that a person is a criminal when the reality of it is that it could have been a case of mistaken vehicle identification'”.
Yup. Welcome to California.
Local officials and Wiener have said that the legislation is needed in order to mitigate a statewide car burglary problem that has inundated the state, reaching what they believe to be crisis levels in some communities. Wiener introduced the legislation at the request of the San Francisco district attorney’s office.
In 2018, there were over 243,000 thefts from automobiles. Car break-ins peaked in 2017, but the average for the eight years prior was 223,000, so this was a significant increase.
In San Francisco, car burglaries spiked by 24% from 2016 to 2017, and while they dropped 13% in 2018 and 4% in 2019, numbers were still tracking to be higher than pre-2017 numbers.
Other cities in the Bay Area experienced similar increases over the past several years, such as San Jose, which experienced an increase of 20% between 2016 and 2018.
Last October, San Francisco interim District Attorney Suzy Loftus announced a joint auto burglary task force led by her office, the California Highway Patrol and the San Francisco Police Department.
The program, named Operation Tangled Web, used air support and patrols to focus on hot spots in residential and commercial areas during the holiday season. The program also targeted the fencing of stolen goods stolen from automobiles.
“With approximately 70 auto burglaries a day [in San Francisco], these collective efforts are important in order to tackle this crisis head on,” said Loftus, who leaves office this month.
In speaking to the loophole in state law, Wiener said his bill would remove impediments to prosecutions in San Francisco, where many of the car burglary victims are tourists who cannot easily return to the state for court dates to testify that their vehicles were, in fact locked.
George Gascon, former San Francisco top prosecutor said the problem led him to ask Wiener to introduce the legislation. Gascon stepped down in October to run for Los Angeles County district attorney.
“I was disappointed that legislators chose to kill a bill that would have closed a loophole that disproportionately impacts one class of victim,” he said.
“Tourists are disproportionately targeted because they are more likely to have valuables in their cars, and this loophole means justice may not be applied equally.”
Gascon hopes that legislators will revisit the proposal this month when they get back in session.
In Los Angeles County, they have not experienced the same surge in car burglaries, however current LA District Attorney Jackie Lacey said, “We do share the frustration of having to prove a vehicle was locked as a factor in determining whether entry was illegal.”
LA saw a 14.3% increase in thefts from vehicles from 2015 to 2017, however in 2019 numbers were down about 6.7% from the same period in 2017.
Wiener, who said that he was never given a reason why his colleagues in the legislature held the bills in committee, but admitted that lawmakers have been reluctant to approve any measure that puts more people in jail.
As with many left-wing states, California has tried to reduce prison overcrowding over the past 10 years or so by reducing penalties for many crimes and blocking other bills that might lead to an increase in the prison population.
The change in legislation was opposed by the California Public Defenders Association, which tied in the issue to the rise of homelessness in major cities in the state.
“In an era where our streets are filled with homeless people looking for shelter from the elements, this expansion of the prosecution and incarceration time for individuals who have not damaged a locking mechanism of the vehicle to gain entry could negatively impact those with the least of means,” the public defenders said in a letter to legislators.
Wow…that’s a mouthful. So in other words, it’s fine to gain entry to a car as long as you don’t damage the locking mechanism. Got it.
Republicans in the legislature are understandably frustrated by the continued hampering of law enforcement by the majority Democrats.
Assembly Republican Leader Marie Waldron said:
“We’ve got one more piece of evidence that for Democrats, victims come last,” she said. “There’s no reason for someone to enter a vehicle that doesn’t belong to them, whether the door is locked or not. This was a common-sense bill to close a major loophole in our car burglary law, but Democrats have proved yet again that in Sacramento, common sense isn’t common.”
Sacramento, meet Albany.
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In 2018, the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California conducted a study, where it was found that the 2014 passage of Proposition 47, which reduced penalties for low-level property crimes, increased some crimes, including thefts from motor vehicles.
Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), the chairman of the Assembly Appropriations Committee, declined to comment on Wiener’s bill.
“With billions of dollars of new taxpayer costs being proposed through new legislation every year, the Appropriations Committee considers the merits of hundreds of bills before making very hard decisions about the fiscal priorities of our state,” she said.
Financial experts for the Appropriations Committee estimated that the bill would have cost courts “hundreds of thousands” of dollars for more prosecutions, in addition to the cost counties would bear for increased jail populations, estimated in some quarters to be in the “millions of dollars.”
It’s ok though California…you can spend as much as you want giving free college tuition and healthcare to illegal immigrants.
Last August, the car burglary issue received national attention when former MLB baseball superstar Alex Rodriguez’s rental car was burglarized in San Francisco, resulting in the theft of an estimated half a million dollars-worth of electronics and jewelry.
We won’t get into why Rodriguez would leave that amount of goods in a rental car, however the case is still unsolved with no arrests being made.
Also, police last year broke up a burglary ring of Chilean nationals, who entered the country on tourist visas and burglarized dozens of cars, homes and businesses in Southern California.
Wiener hopes the law will be passed eventually.
“I think it will get passed eventually, he said. “It’s still a problem.”
Thank you, Nostradamus.