California has a pro-thief law that makes it a lot harder for small businessmen but much easier for shoplifters. The law raised the amount of a prosecutable theft to below $950, making it a misdemeanor for which thieves will likely face no pursuit and no punishment say retailers and law enforcement officials.
Large retailers including Safeway, Target, Rite Aid and CVS pharmacies say shoplifting increased at least 15 percent, and in some cases, doubled since voters approved Proposition 47 and ended the possibility of charging shoplifting as a felony with the potential for a prison sentence.
Shoplifting reports to the Los Angeles Police Department jumped by a quarter in the first year, according to statistics the department compiled for The Associated Press. The ballot measure also lowered penalties for forgery, fraud, petty theft and drug possession.
Public Policy Institute of California researcher Magnus Lofstrom noted a troubling increase in property crime in California’s largest cities in the first half-year after Proposition 47 took effect. Preliminary FBI crime reports show a 12 percent jump in larceny-theft, which includes shoplifting, but he said it is too early to determine what, if any, increase is due to the ballot measure.
Theft rings run rampant and can easily keep below the radar. There is no exception in the new law for organized retail theft.
The left-wing officials say law enforcement has other tools to capture theft rings and others say thieves on the left aren’t “fine tuning” their thefts that way.
Hobby shop owner Perry Lutz says his struggle to survive as a small businessman became a lot harder after California voters reduced theft penalties 1½ years ago.
About a half-dozen times this year, shoplifters have stolen expensive drones or another of the remote-controlled toys he sells in HobbyTown USA, a small shop in Rocklin, northeast of Sacramento. “It’s just pretty much open season,” Lutz said.
“They’ll pick the $800 unit and just grab it and run out the door.”
Anything below $950 keeps the crime a misdemeanor — and likely means the thieves face no pursuit and no punishment, say retailers and law enforcement officials.
Lutz has provided police with surveillance videos, and even the license plate, make and model of the getaway vehicles.
“They go, ‘Perry, our hands are tied because it’s a misdemeanor,'” Lutz said. “It’s not worth pursuing, it’s just a waste of manpower.”
It’s another form of redistribution.
h/t Rosalie Hanson