San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa said he was for the passing of the legislation because he saw it as a chance to give people serving long sentences for retail theft a second chance. Prop. 47 allows felons currently serving prison terms to petition for reduced sentences under the new classifications.
Moreover, a well-known statute in the crime bill raised the minimum amount of stolen goods from $400 to $950 for a theft case to be classified as a felony. Criminal mobs took advantage of the law because they knew that if they got arrested, they could simply walk out of jail the next day and only face misdemeanor charges. This, according to critics, is what caused the rise in petty theft across the state.
"I thought it was a good idea then because we need to give people an opportunity, we need to give people a chance," Canepa told CBS, adding he was wrong to back the measure now that the explosion of retail theft in California and elsewhere has become more evident. "I made a mistake, it was a big mistake, and you have to acknowledge your mistake. By doing this, what we've done is we're, letting people take thousands and thousands of dollars. And why should people be subjugated?" he stated. "We can't go on like this."
Whatever we're doing now to combat the epidemic of organized retail theft is not working. $30 billion lost to national retail theft is an absolute outrage! The fear of organized retail theft is driving people away from our beloved shopping centers. pic.twitter.com/XFVgQdcdTs
— David Canepa (@davidcanepa) August 30, 2023
The Democrat supervisor also admitted defeat in the X post as their current measures to combat the epidemic of organized retail theft are not working. "Thirty billion dollars lost to national retail theft is an absolute outrage! The fear of organized retail theft is driving people away from our beloved shopping centers," he disclosed. (Related: Big-box stores closing down due to rising RETAIL THEFT.)
This was confirmed by the latest data from the National Retail Federation (NRF), indicating that retail theft and other inventory loss (known as shrink) skyrocketed to $94.5 billion in 2021 from $90.8 billion in 2020. Thirty-seven percent amounting to roughly $35 billion, the biggest part of the losses, came from external theft, according to the NRF report.
"Violence is an increasingly important concern among retailers," including shootings and assault, the report reads. "As has been detailed throughout this report, external theft and [organized retail crime] in particular, is a significant and growing area of concern for retailers."
Canepa's social media post also included his reply on the thread saying that he is planning to introduce legislation to form a task force in San Mateo County, comprised of law enforcement and business community members, which would come up with new strategies and sentencing guidelines. This is to combat the organized theft rings to enhance public safety and protect the economy.
"On September 12th, at the Board of Supervisors meeting, I want to move forward with legislation to create a task force of the Sheriff's office, as well as the police chiefs here in San Mateo County," Canepa said.
San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) sergeant Rich Cibotti recently told the Epoch Times that he believes current police staffing woes can be traced back to the "defund the police" movement. SFPD lost hundreds of officers to other departments, resignations, early retirements, and normal retirements, he recalled, emphasizing that he was sharing his personal opinions and did not speak on behalf of his department.
Cibotti said police hiring takes about two years and the current staffing shortages can have big impacts down the road. Also, pay raises can help drive interest in joining the force, but cautioned that higher wages won't do anything to counteract what he suggested was political hostility towards policing in San Francisco.
"San Francisco is rather difficult politically for the police. To fix that issue, a major shift in policy and public support will be needed to help increase interest in joining the police department," he said.
Meanwhile, a recent effort by a Democrat lawmaker to modify Prop. 47 by way of an amendment bill failed for the fifth time earlier this year. "I guess we really are dependent on Batman to bring accountability and justice. Perhaps maybe we should call the Avengers too," the author of the bill, Assemblyman Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove), wrote on X on April 26.
Assembly Bill (AB) 2718 would have classified petty theft and shoplifting as "serial theft," a new crime under the bill. Serial theft of property valued over $500 would have led to prosecution if the offender had two or more previous convictions of theft – effectively reducing the $950 minimum enforced in Prop. 47, according to the bill.
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