Did CA Prop 47 Contribute To Closing Of 17 Walgreens In San Francisco?
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In a recent conversation with a friend from San Francisco, California, I found out that 17 Walgreen locations in San Francisco have closed their doors within the last five years. These closings are caused by rampant shoplifting and looting that has transpired at Walgreen locations. Jason Cunningham, a VP for Walgreen store, said during a hearing held by the Board of Supervisors with retailers, the SFPD, the district attorney’s office, and probation departments, that Walgreen stores in San Francisco face theft four times the average for stores inside the city than anywhere else.
At the hearing, Safeway made a statement blaming the rise in shoplifting on Proposition 47 that was passed by voters in November of 2014. Proposition 47 lowered the penalties for nonviolent thefts under $950 as misdemeanors (punishable by up to 6 months in county jail) rather than felonies. The district attorney’s office would pursue aggregated charges for people who commit multiple petty theft incidents. So let’s take a look at an excerpt from wikipedia about what 2014 California Proposition 47 is all about, in italics, below:
Proposition 47, also known by its ballot title Criminal Sentences. Misdemeanor Penalties. Initiative Statute, was a referendum passed by voters in the state of California on November 4, 2014. The measure was also referred to by its supporters as the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act. It recategorized some nonviolent offenses as misdemeanors, rather than felonies, as they had previously been categorized.
In the video published on April 21, 2015, “California’s Proposition 47 Law Explained“, below:
The crimes affected were:
- Shoplifting, where the value of property stolen does not exceed $950
- Grand theft, where the value of the stolen property does not exceed $950
- Receiving stolen property, where the value of the property does not exceed $950
- Forgery, where the value of forged check, bond or bill does not exceed $950
- Fraud, where the value of the fraudulent check, draft or order does not exceed $950
- Writing a bad check, where the value of the check does not exceed $950
- Personal use of most illegal drugs (Below a certain threshold of weight)
In the video published on Oct. 20, 2014, “Pros and Cons Of California’s Prop 47“, below:
So-called “lower level” crimes have risen since voters passed Prop 47 and lowered jail and prison penalties for certain crimes, in the video published on June 13, 2018, “Non-violent crime spree followed passage of Prop 47“, below:
Please also refer to wikipedia’s summery on Proposition 47’s Impact on crime rates, in italics, below:
In 2015, the Los Angeles Times reported that “law enforcement officials and others have blamed Proposition 47 for allowing repeat offenders…to continue breaking the law with little consequence.” Also that year, a spokesman for George Gascón, the district attorney of San Francisco, said that the law “has made it easier for drug offenders to avoid mandated treatment programs.” The mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, has also suggested that the law may explain why his city’s crime rates went from decreasing to increasing. In a 2015 story in The Washington Post, the police chief of San Diego, Shelley Zimmerman, described Proposition 47 as “a virtual get-out-of-jail-free card.” She and other police chiefs also expressed concern about the increasing phenomenon of “frequent flier” criminals–people who exploit Proposition 47 to commit crimes. For example, one criminal allegedly brought a calculator into a store to avoid stealing more than $950 worth of goods. The ACLU responded by releasing a report saying that those who linked Proposition 47 and crime were “making irresponsible and inaccurate statements.”
The director of the Stanford Justice Advocacy Project and co-author of Proposition 47, Michael Romano, said in November 2015 that, with respect to Proposition 47, “In the long term, this reallocation of resources should significantly improve public safety”. Romano authored a study supporting his conclusion.
A study in June 2018 by the Public Policy Institute of California found evidence that Proposition 47 may have contributed toward an uptick in larceny and auto break-in thefts.:2 The study indicates it found a decline in recidivism and no evidence of an increase in violent crime linked to Proposition 47. :2
However, a 2018 study from the University of California, Irvine, maintains that Prop 47 was not a “driver” for recent upticks in crime, based upon comparison of data from New York, Nevada, Michigan and New Jersey (states that closely matched California’s crime trends) 1970 to 2015, but that “what the measure did do was cause less harm and suffering to those charged with crime.”
Numerous media outlets have continued to report an increase in retail theft related to the passage of Prop 47. Large retailers Safeway, Target, Rite Aid and CVS pharmacies reported in 2016 that shoplifting increased from 15 percent to (in some cases) over 50 percent since voters approved Proposition 47.The Los Angeles Times reported in 2018 that researchers found Prop 47 contributed to a jump in car burglaries, shoplifting and other thefts.
The Public Policy Institute of California reported in 2018 that Prop. 47 led to a rise in the larceny theft rate of about 9 percent compared to the 2014 rate.
By 2019, organized retail theft was on the rise; police and store owners attributed it to Prop 47. Fox News reported that post Prop 47 both shoplifters and fencers operated openly and with impunity, with both criminals and storekeepers aware that selective enforcement policies mean police largely ignore reports of shoplifting, or respond too slowly. President of the California Retailers Association Rachel Michelin stated that thieves will bring in calculators to ensure that they do not go over the $950 limit and that “one person will go into a store, fill up their backpack, come out, dump it out and go right back in and do it all over again.” She also reported that out-of-state crime rings use children as they are even less likely to be prosecuted, and that even when police make arrests, charges are dropped or downgraded by the district attorney.
Gathered, written, and posted by Windermere Sun-Susan Sun Nunamaker
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