Compiling the Aftermath of Prop 47

by ALADS Board of Directors
After the passage of Proposition 47, our deputies and law enforcement across the state saw an increase in crime. Law enforcement leaders who attempted to inform the public of an increase in crime due to Proposition 47 were dismissed and accused of spreading disinformation . Others said that the claims were nothing more than rhetoric that was not supported by "data."
Data made public this week from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department regarding the impact of Prop 47 in Los Angeles County is both sobering and alarming.
Since passage in 2014 through December 31, 2017, a total of 78,537 people have been arrested in Los Angeles County for theft or drug offenses made misdemeanors by Prop 47. After the initial Prop 47 arrest, more than 32,000 of those arrested have been rearrested at least two times. And, many of those subsequent arrests are for serious crimes -- more than 25,000 of the repeat offenders were arrested for Part I crimes, defined as homicide, robbery, arson, rape, burglary, grand theft auto, or larceny over $950.
We have repeatedly stated that making thefts under $950 a virtually consequence-free crime would simply encourage more theft and the numbers bear this out. For example, the Part I larceny (also called theft) rate is higher by double digits in each of the three years since the passage of Prop 47 than it was in in the year prior to passage of Prop 47: 15.4% higher for 2015, 23.3% higher for 2016, and 21.3% higher for 2017.  Another theft category, Grand Theft Auto, saw increases of 21.9% 2013/2014 vs 2014/2015; 29.2% 2013/2014 vs. 2015/2016 and 31% in 2013/2014 vs. 2016/2017.(See page 8)
While Prop 47 apologists deny any link between Prop 47 and the rising property crime rate, it is notable that during 2015 and 2016, the rest of the United States saw falling property crime rates. In 2015 the property crime rate  fell 3.4%  in the United States and then fell another 2% in 2016 . (2017 final statistics are not yet available.)
Of course, these raw statistics only tell part of the story, as the cost and emotional toll of crime upon the residents and businesses in Los Angeles County are not estimated. However, using the Rand Cost of Crime calculator , the additional larceny crimes in 2015-2017 cost residents and businesses more than $40 million. This cost, from one county for only one crime category, is notable when compared to the $100 million that Prop 47 supporters continually tout as the statewide "savings" from the same three years Prop 47 has been in existence. The fact is the cost of increased crime in Los Angeles County and statewide since Prop 47's enactment dwarfs by many multiples the "savings" from not prosecuting/ incarcerating Prop 47 offenders.
The sobering numbers above vividly prove that we cannot afford, both in the fiscal and public safety sense, to continue to "experiment" with public safety. Facts like those above are why ALADS is supporting the " Reducing Crime and Keeping California Safe Act of 2018"  which will reform theft laws to ensure accountability for serial thieves. It will be a welcome first step to curtailing some of the damage brought about by Prop 47.
The Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs (ALADS) is the collective bargaining agent representing more than 7,900 deputy sheriffs and district attorney investigators working in Los Angeles County. Like our Facebook page
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