‘Experts’ in California say we need to stop calling thieves ‘looters’ – because most retail theft is decriminalized anyway

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA — When Democrats’ policies fail miserably — such as decriminalizing theft — the next tactic is to attack the words citizens use so they don’t focus on talking about insane, leftist schemes.

The term “looting” is now deemed very offensive.

“Expert” voices are being amplified by social justice reporters to get the message out to citizens that some words matter.

Also, kindly ignore all the undocumented shopping taking place in California’s major cities, especially San Francisco.

In 2014, California passed Proposition 47, which made thefts of $950 or less only a misdemeanor instead of a more serious felony.

When people realized they were unlikely to be arrested or prosecuted for stealing less than $1,000, some predictably took advantage of the situation and stole items from various retailers.

The stores compounded the problem by telling their employees to not interfere with those who were stealing from the store to avoid lawsuits or employees getting harmed.

California has been inundated with large-scale thefts from various retailers, such as Walgreens and Neiman Marcus.

Currently, the thievery is especially bad in San Francisco, where the district attorney is weak on prosecuting criminals who steal from retailers.

Since social media documents the looting via posted videos and pictures, there seems to be a concerted effort to change the embarassing narrative. Now some “experts” want the public to focus on the linguistic aspect of “looting” rather than the crime itself.

Responding to a wave of retail thefts, San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott told reporters during a recent press conference that stores were indeed looted:

“The Louis Vuitton store was burglarized and looted. The Burberry in Westfield Mall was burglarized and looted.”

Thieves have netted a million dollars’ worth in stolen luxury goods, according to a report by ABC7’s Julian Glover, a race and social justice reporter. He noted:

“To be clear, we don’t know the identities or races of the majority of the thieves involved in this crime wave.

“But we do know there was no local emergency declared in the Bay Area cities that experienced smash and grabs this weekend.

“However, the crimes did follow the contentious verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial Friday.

“A jury found the teen not-guilty on all counts for shooting three men, killing two of them during a protest against police brutality last year in Wisconsin.

“Local protests this weekend in response were largely small and peaceful.”

Glover also cautiously noted to viewers that they need to think twice before using the term “looting” despite police using the term:

“As the Bay Area grapples with a wave of seemingly organized smash and grab robberies this weekend, policing and journalism analysts are cautioning against the use of the term looting.”

Glover reported that according to the California Penal Code, looting has a very narrow definition.

In Chapter 2, Section 463, the penal code states:

“Every person who commits the crime of petty theft, as defined in Section 488, during and within an affected county in a ‘state of emergency’ or a ‘local emergency,’ or under an ‘evacuation order,’ resulting from an earthquake, fire, flood, riot, or other natural or manmade disaster shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for six months.”

On Oct. 15, Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra renewed a determination that the COVID-19 pandemic is still a nationwide public health emergency and has been since Jan. 27, 2020.

However, despite the federal “renewal of determination that a public health emergency exists,” California’s penal code does not consider the pandemic an emergency for its purposes.

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The code further states that the court can reduce or even eliminate a mandatory minimum jail sentence in the interest of “justice”:

“Any person convicted under this subdivision who is eligible for probation and who is granted probation shall, as a condition thereof, be confined in a county jail for at least 90 days, except that the court may, in the case where the interest of justice would best be served, reduce or eliminate that mandatory minimum jail sentence, if the court specifies on the record and enters into the minutes the circumstances indicating that the interest of justice would best be served by that disposition.

“In addition to whatever custody is ordered, the court, in its discretion, may require any person granted probation following conviction under this subdivision to serve up to 80 hours of community service in any program deemed appropriate by the court, including any program created to rebuild the community.”

Next, Glover interviewed two “experts” in order to give viewers “some context of looting” in San Francisco. He noted:

“Both experts expressed the importance of media literacy for viewers to critically think about the language used by public officials and the media as we all try to make sense of these complex issues our society is facing.”

One expert is retired police officer Lorenzo Boyd, Ph.D., who teaches criminal justice and community policing at the University of New Haven.

Emphasizing that words matter, Dr. Boyd told Glover:

“Looting is a term that we typically use when people of color or urban dwellers are doing something. We tend not to use that term for other people when they do the exact same thing.”

Dr. Boyd also suggested that some smash and grab crimes are organized and cyclical in nature:

“These types of massive, organized smash and grabs were happening before the Rittenhouse situation, because it happens cyclically. It’s a false equivalency. It’s people trying to politicize crime.”

The other expert Glover spoke with is Martin Reynolds, co-executive director of the Robert C. Maynard Institute of Journalism Education.

Reynolds reflected on Hurricane Katrina and said mostly black New Orleans residents were labeled looters for crimes of survival — stealing water, food and supplies before federal government aid arrived.

Reynolds then suggested that before slapping a label on San Francisco thieves, one must first focus on how organized the thievery appears:

“This seems like it’s an organized smash and grab robbery. This doesn’t seem like looting. We’re thinking of scenarios where first responders are completely overwhelmed. And folks often may be on their own.”

No wonder Nancy Pelosi is rumored to be heading out of town for good. It would appear she has possibly chosen a looting-free zone in Florida despite being perilously close to an ever-rising sea level. It is unfortunate that other San Franciscans cannot readily relocate from their crime-ridden city to a safer place.

Editor note: In 2020, we saw a nationwide push to “defund the police”.  While we all stood here shaking our heads wondering if these people were serious… they cut billions of dollars in funding for police officers.  And as a result, crime has skyrocketed – all while the same politicians who said “you don’t need guns, the government will protect you” continued their attacks on both our police officers and our Second Amendment rights.

And that’s exactly why we’re launching this national crowdfunding campaign as part of our efforts to help “re-fund the police”.

For those looking for a quick link to get in the fight and support the cause, click here.

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