Category: Policy

Crime and Homelessness Driving Out San Francisco Residents

Mark Calvey of The San Francisco Business Times has this story discussing a survey of City residents measuring their overall concerns about their environment. The article states the following:

Amid sharply rising concerns about crime and quality-of-life issues, 44% of respondents to the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce’s annual CityBeat poll say they intend to leave the city in the next few years. The CityBeat survey found that homelessness and “street behavior” is a top concern for 65% of respondents, with crime and open-air drug-dealing a top concern for 46%. Longstanding problems facing San Francisco residents — housing affordability and cost of living — were far behind, cited as top concerns by 19% and 10%, respectively. 

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Using Prosecutorial Discretion to Negate Law

In a City Journal article former District Attorney Thomas Hogan notes that progressive DAs are abusing their discretion to set countywide policies to prevent the enforcement of laws enacted to discourage and punish crime.

Baltimore is not prosecuting shoplifting or drug-possession crimes. Despite recent violent protests and occupations, St. Louis is not pursuing cases for looting and rioting, while Portland isn’t pursuing charges for trespassing. Philadelphia won’t allow prostitution charges. San Francisco is not prosecuting indecent exposure offenses. Chicago declines arrests for thefts of less than $1,000.

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California’s Crime Rates Reflect Dangerous State Policies

Katy Grimes of the California Globe has this story discussing what is making California’s cities more dangerous with recent data on crime rates.  Grimes mentions a few of the propositions that have impacted crime over the last decade. 

Proposition 47 largely decriminalized theft and drug crimes by reducing those crimes and a number of other “non-violent” felonies to misdemeanors; Prop. 57 allows early release for “non-violent offenders,” including rape by intoxication of an unconscious person, human trafficking involving a sex act with minors, arson causing great bodily harm, drive-by shooting, assault with a deadly weapon, and hostage taking. 

However, there is one bill that was not highlighted.  AB 109 signed by Governor Jerry Brown in 2011 which allowed for the release approximately 30,000 felons from state prison with most going on probation rather than parole. This bill removed the option of prison sentences for crimes such as auto theft, drug felonies and domestic violence and replaced it with county jail time or rehabilitation services. 

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Gascón’s Directive Releases Dangerous Criminals on Probation

Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón’s Special Directive 20-08,  forbids the deputies working for him from applying sentencing enhancements to charges against criminals, even for violent crimes. As reported by Los Angeles Association of Deputy District Attorneys (ADDA) President Michele Hanisee today:

Nearly all…crimes are probation eligible. Murder is probation eligible. Carjacking is probation eligible. Kidnapping is probation eligible. What typically causes a crime to be ineligible for probation is the addition of a sentencing enhancement, for example, use of a deadly weapon or infliction of great bodily injury. But since filing all but a handful of sentencing enhancements is prohibited, nearly every crime remains probation eligible. Thus – even for murder – the presumptive offer for those roughly 95,000 plus cases for which plea bargains are offered must be probation absent “extraordinary circumstances.”

The directive does not define what qualifies as “extraordinary circumstances.” What does that mean in the context of a murder case, or a carjacking case? But by definition, “extraordinary circumstances” will be a rare exception. The rule is that prosecutors must offer a plea bargain that results in the defendant going home on probation rather than serving time in custody.  Even for murder.

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Homicide Rates Climb, Citizens Told it is the New Normal

The Washington Post has this story addressing the steep increase in homicides across the country in the last year. 

“It’s going to get worse,” Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson (D) said.

As the homicide rate climbed through a year of pandemic-imposed shutdowns and civil unrest, officials held firm to their belief that the rise was driven by that exceptional set of circumstances. As life returned to normal, the theory went, the killings would slow.

But even as coronavirus restrictions have been lifted and protests have quieted in recent months, the violence has not subsided. Indeed, it has continued to grow. And now, local leaders are grappling with a possibility they had long feared: that a decades-long era of declining murder rates in America’s cities may be over, and that the increased killings may be here to stay.

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Criminal Released Early in San Francisco Stabs Elderly Woman

The NYPost has this story on a 94-year-old Asian woman, Ann Taylor, who was stabbed by a man who was under ankle monitor surveillance when he committed this unprovoked attack against her in front of her San Francisco residence. The man, Daniel Cauich, “…had reportedly been arrested five times last year on burglary charges, was sprung by a judge on June 7 to await his trial after his most recent arrest for burglary on May 18.” 

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Crime and Violence Surge in Baltimore: Business Owners Have Had Enough

Many of the cities that have progressive District Attorneys are experiencing high spikes in crimes and criminal behavior  encouraged by policy changes that have reduced the consequences for crimes. The Baltimore Sun has this story on the response of many business owners to the lack of action being taken by city officials to address unacceptable levels of crime. “More than 30 business and restaurant owners in Fells Point are threatening to withhold taxes if city leaders do not address crime, trash and other issues they say are plaguing the waterfront neighborhood.” These issues include drug sales out in the open areas of the city and public drinking. The business owners have stated in a letter to the city that there needs to be more regulation and consequences for the crimes being committed. 

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Murderer to be Tried as a Juvenile Years After Conviction Under Proposition 57

MyNewsLA has this story on Kevin Orellana, an 18-year-old who was murdered by two brothers in 2013 while playing handball at Reseda’s Cleveland High School. Orellana was approached by Anthony and Michael Carpio, both identified as gang members. Michael was hitting and fighting Orellana when Anthony began stabbing him as a gang challenge. Anthony, who was 16-years-old at the time stabbed Orellana 10 times in his head and neck, from behind, leading to his death.

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Governor Newsom Releases More Violent Criminals

Katy Grimes from The California Globe has this story covering Newsom’s announcement on May 28th, “[He} granted 14 pardons, 13 commutations and 8 medical reprieves – for murderers, bank robbers, armed robbers, kidnappers, killers for hire, drivers of get-away-cars for murderers, and assaulters with firearms.” Yet again we are looking at the release of criminals who have been convicted of heinous, violent crimes that would lead any reasonable person to believe pose a threat to the safety and security of the community in which they are released into. 

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CA Double Murderer Gets Early Release

Fox LA has this story on Howard Elwin Jones, a gang member who murdered two teenagers at a party during Christmas in 1988. One of the boys, Chris Baker, was only 17 years old, and was shot by Jones on the assumption that the red Santa hat he was wearing indicated his membership in a rival gang. Jones was sentenced to 45 years to life in prison. SB 260 was signed into law in 2013 by Gov. Jerry Brown, made Jones eligible for parole.  He had been denied twice until Jones had his third parole hearing in February by Gov. Gavin Newsom’s parole board and was found eligible for release.  The parole hearing excluded prosecutors per District Attorney George Gascon’s directive that their involvement in cases ends at sentencing. This murderer’s early release also included  Gov. Gavin Newsom’s review and approval. Jones is set to walk out from San Quentin on Monday. 

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