The “decarceration” and “defund police” movements have made our neighborhoods less safe, eroded the morale of our law enforcement agencies, and hurt small businesses that power our economy. These dangerous ideologies prioritize criminals over community – and even the real victims of crime. And they aren’t done yet.
Three of the worst manifestations of these ideologies are AB 109 and Propositions 47 and 57 – and they have a direct impact on our safety that the Board of Supervisors must address.
AB109, which was passed in 2011, transferred thousands of felons from State Prisons to our local county jails. Our jails were never designed to hold long-term prisoners and the influx of felons meant thousands of jai inmates were simply released into our neighborhoods.
Prop 47, inaccurately called the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act, reduced penalties for specific offenses from felonies to misdemeanors. Among other inexplicable changes, it reduced penalties for stealing a gun.
Prop 57 was billed as another “justice reform” that would make us safer. But in truth, it reclassified many violent crimes as “non-violent,” thus making these violent offenders eligible for early release from prison or transfer to County jail. These “reforms” include classifying the rape of an unconscious person as a “non-violent” crime.
The result of these three “laws” is more criminals in our neighborhoods and more victims of their crimes in our communities, schools, and hospitals. That’s not acceptable.
My recent Community Survey outlined the scope of the problem — nearly 25% of residents report that they have been the victim of a crime. The vast majority are property crimes, like the rash of catalytic converter thefts, but many are person crimes as well – from home invasions to rape, robbery, and murder.
Let me be perfectly clear – there is no such thing as a “victimless crime.” Criminals who invade our cars, homes, and businesses rob us of our sense of security, retail thefts drive up costs for food and other necessities, and violent crimes harm too many of our citizens. All crimes create victims.
Sadly, some politicians and their activist allies are far more concerned with the needs and desires of criminals than their victims or the community.
This has had a severe impact on our communities in the region and across the state. Prop 47 has directly contributed to the rise of retail shoplifting. Many retail stores have been forced to implement extra security measures to safeguard their cosmetic and toiletry products. A recent report published by the National Retail Federation underscored the staggering economic loss incurred due to retail theft, amounting to nearly $30 billion annually.
Unfortunately, the Legislature isn’t done yet. There are bills winding their way through the Legislature that would disarm security officers and ban employees from stopping shoplifters.
Elections have consequences. The rise of “decarceration” ballot measures and politicians who support their agenda has only emboldened criminals and hindered our law enforcement officers, our retail stores, small businesses, and our law-abiding citizens!
County Supervisors can’t change state law, but we can take action to ensure the public is still protected by investing in our public safety systems and personnel.
That is why I am supporting additional funding for the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department, Probation, and District Attorney’s office. Ensuring the safety of our citizens is the government’s most sacred responsibility. Our budget should reflect that.
The recently proposed budget for Sacramento County is a step in the right direction. Notably, this budget includes an increase of $35 million allocated to the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office to improve enforcement and outreach related to homelessness, purchase needed equipment like body cameras, and increase pay to boost recruitment and fill empty positions.
For me, the paramount duty of government is to ensure the safety and well-being of the public. As a result, I have consistently focused on public safety in my policy agenda and budget priorities.
I do believe in reform, redemption, and rehabilitation. But simply not prosecuting criminals, or allowing their crimes to go unpunished, accomplishes none of that.
By strengthening our law enforcement agencies, we can better equip them to tackle the challenges we are facing today. Moving forward, it is crucial for policymakers, community leaders, and law enforcement agencies to work collaboratively in refining strategies and implementing measures that effectively address the failures of AB 109, and Propositions 47 and 57. I will be working with our Sheriff, District Attorney, and State Legislatures to do just that.
Through this concerted effort, we can strive towards a safer community that upholds the principles of justice, protection, and public safety.
Thank you for reading – and as always, if you want to contact me, call me at 916-874-5491, or e-mail me at SupervisorFrost@saccounty.net. Sacramento County Supervisor Sue Frost represents the 4th District, which includes the communities of Citrus Heights, Folsom, Orangevale, Antelope, North Highlands, Rio Linda, Elverta, and Rancho Murieta.