Recently, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said, “A wall is an immorality. It’s not who we are as a nation.”
Yet, in 2020, Malibu’s first gated community in more than 20 years will be completed. According to The Hollywood Reporter, “The Case,” a five-residence enclave, with new homes priced between $40 million and $60 million, will feature a six-foot-tall fire-retardant wall, 24-hour guard tower, a fire hydrant and state-of-the-art sprinkler system, and following the Malibu fires last year, an option for homeowners to have their own fire-fighting service.
The Case development isn’t just in response to the devastating Malibu fires.
“Data from the LAPD’s West L.A. Division, which covers Brentwood and Pacific Palisades, reports that burglaries are up 14 percent over the same period in 2017, and up 41 percent over 2016, and the prospect of a 24-hour guard gains appeal,” The Hollywood Reporter found.
There are other new gated communities developing in California: The Mountain in Beverly Hills; Park Bel Air across from the Beverly Hills Hotel and Beverly Park, which is home to Mark Wahlberg, Denzel Washington and Sumner Redstone; Brentwood Country Estates where action movie star and former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger lives.
What about the rest of California? Crime is on the rise in East L.A., South Central L.A, the Central Valley, Sacramento, and throughout all cities in California, according to the California Department of Justice. Urban and suburban neighborhoods throughout the state have formed community non-profit associations solely for the purpose of hiring private security companies because local police departments cannot respond to all of the crime calls, and can no longer arrest thieves for petty theft, according to news articles.
Law enforcement attributes the crime spike to two ballot initiatives, which were the result of Assembly Bill 109, Gov. Jerry Brown’s “prison realignment” legislation to reduce prison overcrowding: Proposition 47 and Proposition 57.
AB 109 transferred some “low level” felons to county prisons.
Prop. 47 reduced sentences for drug possession and thefts under $950.
Prop. 57 now allows the early release of state prison inmates and created tougher rules to get juveniles charged as adults, according to Michelle Hanisee, President of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys.
Proposition 47 passed in November 2014, was designed to lower criminal penalties for many property and drug offenses, to decrease the state’s prison overcrowding. Prop. 47 reduced penalties for many “nonviolent, low-level” offenses from felonies to misdemeanors in an effort to free up prison and jail cells. While this has led to early inmate releases and decreased jail overcrowding, Prop. 47 also erased felony charges for date-rape drugs and other drugs, by including them in the definition of recreational drugs.
Prop. 47 also tied judges’ hands and decimated drug courts where prior to passage of Prop. 47, those arrested on drug charges could avoid being charged with a felony in exchange for completing a drug treatment program.
However, while decreasing prison population by transferring inmates to county jails, and letting “low-level” convicts out of county jails, unintended consequences resulted: a significant increase in property crimes, vehicle break-ins and shoplifting, particularly in densely populated cities.
According to the Association of Deputy District Attorneys, the Constitutional rights of victims have been unlawfully reduced because of these new laws.
The result? “Fire fears from Malibu to Bel Air are adding to the allure of self-contained neighborhoods for A-listers — from Arnold Schwarzenegger to the Kardashians — who are already concerned about rising crime and the “Nextdoor effect” on anxiety,” says the Hollywood Reporter.
“The Agency co-founder Mauricio Umansky and his wife, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Kyle Richards, were the victims of crime. ‘Last year, thieves made off with more than $1 million in goods from their Encino home while they were on vacation,’” the Hollywood Reporter said. “‘We’ve since discussed moving into a gated community,’ he says.”
“In recent months, Dodgers star Yasiel Puig’s Encino home was robbed multiple times; Rihanna‘s Hollywood Hills home and Christina Milian’s in the Valley also were burgled. In October, when the LAPD reportedly arrested a group of teenagers suspected in those robberies, authorities found a list of other actors and athletes thought to be future targets.”
“One critical and fundamental flaw with Prop. 47 is that repeat offenders do not get any enhanced punishment – or, for that matter, treatment,” said Marc Debbaudt, former President of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys. “Moreover, without the threat of incarceration, those addicted to drugs who steal to support their habits have no incentive to enter into drug treatment programs.”
California Globe asked Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), who represents Malibu, to weigh in, but he declined.