Home>Articles>Prop. 47 – ‘Not the Reason for the Theft Wave’

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)

Prop. 47 – ‘Not the Reason for the Theft Wave’

…So says USA Today in one of the worst ‘fact checks’ ever

By Thomas Buckley, September 23, 2023 8:05 am

California is being stolen from its citizens $949 at a time.

This we all know – we’ve all seen it on the news and a sadly significantly large percentage of us have seen it in person when we’ve been picking up a prescription at the drug store.

It is unquestionably happening and it is unquestionably tied to the change in the law made by the civilization-strangling Proposition 47.

Prop. 47 shifted theft of less than $950 to a misdemeanor and opened the floodgates. The thief is not being stopped, the thief is not being cited, the thief is not being pursued, the thief is not being jailed, the thief is not being prosecuted and, typically, the theft isn’t even being reported. Therefore, the thieves keep thieving.

But USA Today said last week that what thousands of Californians are physically witnessing every day is not really happening and even if it is it is not the fault of Prop. 47.

So shut up, you fascist.

While that last bit was not part of the USA Today fact check, it could easily have been.

In response to a TikTok video of people running out of a store with armfuls of stuff that was captioned in part “Wow!! We’re allowed to steal up to $950 at stores in California because of PROP 47,” the fact check entitled “No, California’s Proposition 47 Doesn’t Allow You to Steal $950 in Store Items” boldly asserts that’s not true, reading.

“Our rating: False”

Shoplifting is a misdemeanor in California with punishments of up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, according to the text of the measure. While the maximum sentences for some low-level thefts changed, they were not eliminated.”

Prop. 47 “did not give shoppers a license to steal beneath that threshold, experts say,” the check continues.

And who is the expert (not experts, by the way) they cite?

UCI Prof. Charis Kubrin, who “analyzes neighborhood correlates of crime, with an emphasis on race and violent crime. Recent work examines the immigration-crime nexus across neighborhoods and cities, as well as assesses the impact of criminal justice reform on crime rates.”

“What Prop 47 did was reclassify some low-level drug and property offenses as misdemeanors rather than felonies – still keeping them as crimes,” Kubrin said.

The article notes that “(Prop 47) established shoplifting as a misdemeanor and defined it as entering an open business with the intent to steal merchandise worth $950 or less. A conviction carries a punishment of up to six months in county jail and a $1,000 fine, according to its text.”

And Kubrin added that punishment is very possible: 

“In (certain) instances, judges have the leeway to impose a felony punishment – up to three years in county jail – to someone convicted on a misdemeanor charge, Kubrin said. “If there is some element of that crime that makes the judge uncomfortable, they can have it be a felony,” she said. “If there is a cause of concern, there is the ability to charge higher.”

The article notes Kubrin authored a study in 2018 that showed no Prop. 47 increase in “homicide, rape, aggravated assault, robbery or burglary. It also could not determine if Prop. 47 was the reason for moderate increases observed in larceny and motor vehicle thefts.”

The article, thinking it is delivering the coup de grace  – continues thusly:

“What we have to conclude is that there was really no impact whatsoever on violent or property crime,” Kubrin said.

The proposition was passed as a response to concerns about overcrowding in the state’s prisons.

“The idea was, we don’t need to be clogging up our state prisons with very low-level offenders that can be better housed in our jail facilities,” Kubrin said. “And that will help reduce the overcrowding and also help the state with its finances.”

So there.

The funny thing is that Kubrin – while being aggressively oblivious to the reality of the situation – is technically not lying, at least about the sentencing possibilities.

POSSIBILITIES – appearing before a judge for misdemeanor shoplifting is currently as possible as winning the lottery while getting bit by a shark while scoring a hole-in-one.  In other words, not very possible at all.

Since no one is getting cited, arrested, charged, or brought to trial because stores don’t see the point of reporting theft or law enforcement has trouble seeing the point of citing/arresting/investigating knowing there will be no consequences or because the local district attorney has a policy of not trying misdemeanors.  

From the Globe’s, More Than A Month’s Worth: That’s the Size of LA DA Gascon’s Case Backlog, “The midterm report also noted that charges for misdemeanor offenses have dropped about 40 percent while charges for misdemeanor “addiction related offenses” have essentially dropped to zero per office policy, a policy many say has directly led to the degradation of the city.”

Or maybe it’s because the criminal justice reform movement has shifted the stigma of crime from the perpetrator to the victim – “they’re just repatriating stolen capitalist goods to feed their family” activists say as they watch people run out of the store with an air conditioner.

The fact check – and it’s lone source (check that – they read something on the LA County public defender’s website…really) – uses two extremely common tactics they want to deny a reality – siloed minutia, or “you can’t call him Bob because it says Robert on his birth certificate” and absolute trust in what the government says.

In this case, the law says X so X is what happens – end of story.

While far too many “fact checks” are merely hysterical defenses of official policy already, this check is so brazen, so absurd, and so dangerously wrong it boggles the mind.

Expect to see a lot more California fact checks along this line if and when Gavin runs for president.  

You have to till the soil before you can plant.

An addendum – does the limit include sales tax?  And, for a state that is so broke, it would seem that at the very least the legislature would do something to avoid losing tax revenue because the guy walking out of the CVS is not just walking out with stuff but 450, $70, $90 bucks in tax money, too. Think about the DEI stuff they could do with all that cash!

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4 thoughts on “Prop. 47 – ‘Not the Reason for the Theft Wave’

  1. Has anyone ever explained how Prop 47, named “California Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act” has actually MADE SCHOOLS AND NEIGHBORHOODS *SAFER*???when everything in the proposition actually MADE CRIMINALS SAFER from prosecution, conviction, and sentencing???

  2. Good thing Californians who have any sense left at all know better about the hell that Prop 47 has caused. What’s more they know that doubtless the lion’s share of homeless/vagrancy started showing up after Prop 47 became law. Elimination of a court’s ability to offer drug rehab diversion instead of jail time (documented to have saved many lives, by the way, and straightened many many people out) to those convicted of certain crimes meant a flood of addicts who were also often mentally ill flopped on the streets, their addictions and mental health worsening over time, resulting in dead ends and death. Not to mention a terrified public because of random drug-fueled aggression and attacks, with mayhem and death often the outcome in that realm, too. Sure very helpful, and what a great job, Prop 47 “safe neighborhoods and schools” helpers!

  3. Interesting that the UK is experiencing a very similar trend:

    “ Legal action against shoplifters is declining. In the year to June 2022, 21,279 people were prosecuted for shoplifting in England and Wales, compared with 80,352 a decade ago. A change in the law in 2014 meant those charged with stealing goods worth less than £200 fall under the bracket of anti-social behaviour, so were likely to receive a fine without having to appear in court.”
    Human nature is fairly predictable.


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