Molded after SB 916 which was introduced during California’s 2018 legislative session, but did not pass, today State Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) announced that he will reintroduce a similar bill when the legislature reconvenes on December 3rd.
Sponsored by San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón, Wiener’s bill will look to “eliminate the requirement that to prove auto burglary, the prosecution must prove that the door to the car was locked, even if the evidence shows that the defendant bashed in a window. Instead, forcible entry will be sufficient to prove the crime.”
Last session, Wiener attempted to criticize the current law by arguing that criminals can simply unlock a car door after breaking the glass, thus voiding themselves of the crime in the first place.
Wiener added “allowing proof that the defendant shattered a car window to substitute for proving that the car door was locked will make it easier to enforce the law in cases where a defendant is proven to have forcibly entered a car.”
According to the San Francisco Police Department, vehicle theft has spiked 26 percent since last year and furthermore tripled since 2010. Despite this, a rise in arrests has led to an overall decrease so far in 2018. “Auto burglaries are down, but there are still ways we can and must improve in order to put this epidemic behind us,” said District Attorney George Gascón. “Closing a loophole that has allowed some suspects to escape consequences is one way government can improve its response to these crimes.”
San Francisco Police Chief William Scott said, “the legislation Senator Wiener is proposing will be a very useful tool to help us reduce vehicle burglaries by making it easier to successfully prosecute these crimes.”
San Francisco Supervisor Vallie Brown has also announced she intends to introduce a resolution to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in support of Senator Wiener.
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