Home>Articles>New CA Law Decriminalizing Jaywalking Because of ‘Racism’ is Cover for Real Motive

In California’s major cities, homicides rose by roughly 17 percent in the last year. Homicides in Los Angeles reached their highest total in 15 years. (Photo: Eva Carre/Shutterstock)

New CA Law Decriminalizing Jaywalking Because of ‘Racism’ is Cover for Real Motive

The real motive behind AB 2147 is much more insidious

By Katy Grimes, January 6, 2023 9:27 am

Yet another new law to turn all of California into San Francisco was passed by the California Legislature and signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom last fall. This one legalizes jaywalking, effective January 1, 2023.

While this might not sound earth shattering, proponents of AB 2147 claim this change is necessary because punishing jaywalkers is racist, since in Los Angeles, Black people were 31% of the people stopped by the Los Angeles Police Department for jaywalking between 2018 to 2020.

The real motive behind AB 2147 is much more insidious – it’s all part of the push to get people out of cars and and onto public transit or bicycles, and living and working in a city, rather than commuting from a suburb to a city for work.

Joel Pollak at Breitbart summarized the change:

This law, called the “Freedom to Walk Act,” presumes that jaywalking is a racist crime because it is supposedly enforced unevenly — by the nation’s most left-wing state — in “communities of color” where people supposedly cannot afford to pay the fines. The law prevents police from stopping people who are crossing the street illegally unless they are in danger.

The Los Angeles Times editorial board claims “if walkers sometimes jaywalk to reach their destination, that’s a design flaw rather than a human flaw.”

They say “It can be far more dangerous to cross the street at an intersection, where drivers routinely turn into the crosswalk without regard to pedestrians or the walk signal. In some cases, it’s safer to cross mid-block during a gap in traffic. Yet the law ignores the simple personal calculations pedestrians are constantly forced to make. What feels safer? What’s convenient? Do I really need to walk a quarter-mile to a crosswalk just to get to the store directly across the street from me? Can I dash across lanes and catch my bus to avoid waiting another 30 minutes for the next one?”

Everybody is a victim in California, according to the leftist media and Democrat-dominated Legislature.

Anyone who has walked on the streets of San Francisco knows there is safety in numbers. Crossing the street, even on a green light, is challenging, but this is not because of racism – it’s because of the heavy auto traffic and equally heavy pedestrian traffic, frustrating both groups.

Heavy pedestrian traffic and heavy auto traffic is is much the same in Chicago, as it is Boston, Philadelphia, New York City, Dallas, San Diego and Los Angeles. It’s a big city issue where people live and work on top of each other.

Why have cities spent millions making crosswalks across the state more safe, with better lighting, brighter, more defined lines and striping, louder crossing counters, only to make crosswalks largely irrelevant if jaywalking is legal?

California State Sheriff’s Association, City of Thousand Oaks, and California District Attorneys Association opposed the bill, “arguing that repealing the jaywalking law will create confusion for drivers and pedestrians about safe roadway use, and it could lead to more pedestrian deaths. It’s true that pedestrian fatalities have been on the rise for the last decade.”

The LA Times editorial board says big cities prioritize cars over people, and “that means pedestrians are more likely to jaywalk and more likely to face the nearly $200 fine for a jaywalking ticket.”

While the Los Angeles Times editorial board admits, “pedestrian fatalities have been on the rise for the last decade,” they fail to say by how much. “While pedestrian deaths have risen by 54% over the past decade, all other traffic deaths have increased by 13%,” the Governors Highway Safety Association reported in May.

Pedestrian deaths increased by 54% in one decade. (Photo: ghsa.org)

It is patently ridiculous to legalize jaywalking when pedestrian fatalities are up by 54%. The real issue is the lack of traffic law enforcement. Police departments report significant officer shortages, impacting the ability to patrol traffic, thanks to the “defund the police” movement and radicalized local elected officials buying into this by cutting police department funding.

Sacramento City Council is one example. In 2020, the Sacramento City Council voted unanimously to pass a “public safety” resolution intended to officially redefine public safety — Sacramento Police Department, Sacramento Fire Department, and Emergency Medical Teams — to include what the city calls “youth-prevention services” such as arts programs and health food programs, and other “community outreach programs,” the Globe reported.

The City Council funded this by taking millions of dollars from the Sacramento Police Department budget – known as defunding the police.  The more the City Council whittles away from SacPD funding and resources can only inevitably lead to more of Sacramento becoming a “no-go zone,” as the crime statistics prove.

The Tehama County Sheriff’s Office announced in November that all daytime patrols would be cut in the county beginning November 20th, due to a major staffing shortage, leaving the County without a major law enforcement presence during the day, the Globe reported.

This trend is dangerous, as the increase in pedestrian deaths shows. Yet rather than increase public safety policing, California Democrats just changed the law decriminalizing yet another public safety measure.

Proposition 47 and Proposition 57 decriminalized many laws. Proposition 47 (2014) downgraded many felonies to misdemeanors; Proposition 57 (2016) reduced prison sentences and reclassified violent crimes as “non-violent,” and in 2011, Assembly Bill 109, Gov. Jerry Brown’s “prison realignment” scheme, shifted detainees from state prisons to local jails, overwhelming county jails. These have been a disaster for public safety, taking away the tools courts need to rehabilitate drug offenders, opening the door for rampant retail theft, and reclassifying violent crimes as “non-violent.”

If the radical “defund the police” movement can’t actually defund police departments to get rid of police as they desire, they are instead systematically decriminalizing important public safety laws such as jaywalking; reclassifying drug possession offenses, reclassifying shoplifting, grand theft, vehicular theft, receiving stolen property, forgery, fraud, writing bad checks; granting early release to ‘non-violent’ offenders: sex traffickers, rapists, abusive spouses and drive-by shooters.

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16 thoughts on “New CA Law Decriminalizing Jaywalking Because of ‘Racism’ is Cover for Real Motive

  1. When the pedestrians start dying (they already are), these buffoons in Sacramento will never be held responsible. Take away their state taxpayer-funded cars and make them walk.

  2. Good grief….there is no end to Democrat stupidity. Now there are going to be even more nutjobs who walk down the middle of streets holding up traffic just because they can. It’s also amazing that the Democrats claim the state government is full of racism even though they have been in charge of said government for over two decades now. It really tells you something (not to mention how many decades Democrats have had control over all these “racist” cities).

  3. Sounds like the general goal of our ridiculous politicians is to continually increase lawlessness. The goal might also be a homeless/vagrant de-population effort by our Dem electeds, because apparently in urban centers they are the “pedestrians” who are hit by cars most often when, under the influence of meth, for example, they run/walk/hop/skip right into busy streets and vehicle traffic, possibly without awareness of doing it.
    Yesterday I heard a number of Southern California drivers talk about how homeless/vagrants have been seen walking directly and suddenly onto freeway lanes or walking on fwy shoulders because their encampments are right there next to the freeway or actually ON freeway on-ramps. (I think Katy Grimes has posted such photographs.) There have been local news reports of this happening, too —- usually in the middle of the night with witnesses reporting a pedestrian trying to walk across lanes. Imagine. A motorist who hits such a person carries that horror and regret with them for the rest of their lives and, as a practical matter, if they drive for a company, they may even lose their job or be sued, depending.

  4. One need not be named Nostradamus to see the headlines of the future:

    “Pedestrian Deaths Skyrocket – African American Community Hardest Hit”

  5. Statistically, most of those “pedestrian deaths” occur late at night, and are mostly people who are drrunk, high, or both. With most of those being “homeless” who wander or outright, are just in the middle of the street

  6. If the LA Times thinks it’s a good idea, then you know it’s not. All of the writers at the LA Times collectively couldn’t reach an IQ 100.

  7. It’s nothing note that a lottery. The yokels in the sketchy part of town will step out in front of you hoping to cause a rear end collision to brag about, our kuck out and claim they were hit and sue your insurance company.

  8. This author makes s lot of claims and comes to a bunch of conclusions that are merely intuitive or a matter of opinion masquerading as fact. For instance Prop. 47 actually turned many felonies into “wobblers”, meaning prosecutors have MORE discretion to charge them as felonies or misdemeanors. But the author omits this key fact. Prop. 57 was intended to address the federal consent decree — initiated under the George W. Bush Administration — that legally REQUIRED California to reduce its prison population due to dangerous (for inmates and guards) and illegal overcrowding. The alternative would have been to merely release thousands of prisoners. The simple fact is that County jails got MORE money than they did previously that they get largely by exploiting loopholes (such as putting inmates on unnecessary bus trips) and then bill the bogus charges to the State and the Feds.

    Also, Pew Research shows that policing of petty crime actually RAISES the “crime” total statistics, thereby misleadingly fueling the cry for increased policing across the board. Pededtrian “crimes” mostly (not totally) are crimes of DISINCENTIVE because the person is risking bodily injury. Therefore they’re often self-policing activities. Why not trust people to know when it’s safe for them to cross instead of waiting for a computer to tell them it’s safe?

    And lastly, if pedestrian deaths are up when pedestrians are required to use crosswalks, the problem could be lack of adherence to the law by drivers rather than pedestrians. In fact the author even states that drivers often indiscriminately turn into crosswalks, but then she ignores her own observation as the possible cause of the increased pedestrian deaths and injuries. Why not investigate the REAL cause instead of jumping to intuitive conclusions which often are a matter of perspective?

    The real solutions come by looking at actual facts with sufficient depth and analysis to know what’s actually happening, rather than citing selective facts that support a political position. Forget blanket policies that defund or increase funding for police. Gather and analyze crime stats thoroughly and scientifically, and make the street cops operate more efficiently — just like all the other cash-strapped arms of government — by focusing on policing actual violent crime and targeting other behavior that science shows to be a true threat to public safety.

    1. Sorry. You’re mostly wrong. More inmates released is the cause of more crime and violence. Prosecutors are bringing fewer cases and have fewer convictions. These are facts not opinions.

      Use common sense. More people crossing the street at places other than crosswalks will result in more deaths. This will explode in areas with fewer police and more lawbreakers- our major cities, thereby hurting the group lawmakers are trying to “protect” by suspending jaywalking laws.

      This is really like the “broken window” study. In NY. Once you stop investigating minor crimes, like broken windows (or jaywalking, or worrying about the race of the person you stop) you will have an escalation of crime.

  9. If California had a part-time legislature as we did prior to 1966, many of the radical left-wing laws and regulations would not be law. Simply put, California legislators spend too much time in Sacramento. In order to appear necessary, they come up with nonsense like AB2147. When they don’t have logical arguments for their legislation, they change the subject by calling their opposition racists, homophobes, etc, etc. It’s time to go back to a part-time legislature. The same applies to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

  10. @J.L.

    Where do we start. So many mistakes. So many delusions. So much ignorant stupidity.

    Lets see. Props 47 and 57 decriminalized most petty crime. The $1000 limit etc. I watched a guy take a handful of stuff in a Walgreens after Prop 47 (beside SF Gen) and walk out the door. A street junkie. I immediately found the store manager and told him I was willing to make an ID statement to the SFPD when they arrived. And do the follow up when charged as the street junkie would almost certainly have outstanding warrants against him. And go with the PD on foot if they needed the guy ID’ed. The manager just laughed and said that he had stopped making calls to the SFPD unless one of his staff was attacked. And even then the police response was not guaranteed. It was very different before 2014. Had a very long and interesting chat with the manager. Nice guy.

    I talked to several SFPD officers about this subject over the years. They would love to arrest and lock up these petty criminals. But Props 47/57 quite separate from the clown show in the SF DA’s office made it a complete waste of time. Plus there was the “quota” business..

    Let me guess. You did not live in California before Three Strikes passed in the mid 1990’s. When crime was completely out of control. Remember what LA and SF was like in the totally Mad Max high crime days of the 1980’s and early 1990’s? I do. By the late 1990’s Three Strikes had made the streets safe again. Lock up criminals, the streets are safe. Release them, streets are unsafe. Its that simple.

    Prison overcrowding. Thats easy. The opponents of Three Strike (i.e locking up criminals) from the very start tried to subvert the enforcement of the law by doing everything they could to prevent the building of new prisons to house all the criminals that were previously roaming the streets. They made that vow publicly in 1994 and have done everything the decades since to prevent the building of new prisons. Build lots of new prisons. Overcrowding problem solved.

    That crime stats argument. Are you serious? Its just utter stupidity. When criminals are not prosecuted and locked up people just give up reporting crime. A very well document phenomena going back generations. Back in the 1980’s / early 1990’s pretty much everyone I knew had been a crime victim of one sort or other. Not one of those crimes ever got even a police report. No point. That includes several mugging at gun point, assaults and an attempted sexual assault. Very common back then as crime levels were out of control.

    Then after Three Strikes and people started noticing that criminals were prosecuted and going to jail, they started reporting crimes again. And in my case I made sure the scumbag went to jail. Where he belonged.

    But after Props 47/57 its back to the old days. Pre Three Strikes. Now all the crime that was unreported before Three Strikes is mostly unreported again. Because whats the point.

    That street crim who was getting ready to mug me while I was waiting for a taxi to SFO a few years ago. Would have been an automatic 911 and response 10 years ago. So I did what you had to do before Three Strikes. Make it very clear immediately that I knew knew what he was. And what he was doing. I made very sure he knew I saw him and knew his intentions. And that I was a local who had old school street smarts. He did a double take and walked off. No crime report for that incidence will show up in the statistics.

    And when I checked the police reports later turned out someone was mugged with violence two block away about 30 mins later. By guess who. It was a very quiet area. Before Props 47/57 that 911 call would have been made. And there probably would have been one less crime victim. That day .

    All your ramblings show is that you have nt a clue about the subject. Just stuff you read somewhere. Probably the Daily Kos. I suspect you are a recent arrival in state from some safe suburb somewhere and havent a clue about what crime in big California cities has actually been like over the last 4 or 5 decades. And just how safe it was from the late 90’s to the early 10’s. Compared to before and after.

    What Three Strikes proved is that when you lock up petty criminals for long periods of time serious crime rates go way down too. As experienced in day to day living. Not some unreliable statistics quoted in “criminal justice” literature. Which is mostly political motivated junk papers from University Sociology Departments.

    Because it seems a very simple truth is beyond the comprehension of “criminal justice reform” people. Who in my experience are ill-informed, clueless and dangerously naive. And always seem to live in some very safe low crime neighborhood. Most petty crime is committed by those with an extensive criminal record. And most serious crime is committed by those with a criminal record. Both petty and serious.

    Lock up criminals for a long time . Warehouse them. It works really well. At greatly reducing the number of crime victims. Which is how the effectiveness of the criminal justice system should be measured. How many people are the victim of crime. Both petty and serious. Which should I care about criminals. They are the very bottom of my sympathy list.

  11. Leftist laws are always reverse engineered. They start out with the desired result and then come up with a law that Seems to have nothing to do with it and pass it. As a evil person once said. You have to pass it to know what is in it.

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