A Sign of Awakening in Santa Monica?

Santa Monica, California is deeply left-wing territory. But even there, people may be waking up from the mass delusion that drastically reducing the consequences of committing crimes is a good idea. The Santa Monica Lookout, an online news source formed after the local newspaper collapsed, recently reported a year-end poll, including a question on crime.

Reporter Jorge Casuso notes that Santa Monica voted 79 percent for California’s consequence-reducing Proposition 47 in 2014, compared to 60 percent statewide. They doubled down two years later, voting 82 percent for Proposition 57 compared to 68 percent statewide. The latter was advertised as providing for early release of non-violent felons but in fact has released a great many violent felons early.

Here is the question in the current poll:

The poll also asked if “the city should do a better job holding violent repeat offenders accountable for their crimes, including for instance longer jail time.”

The poll noted that “in several instances this year, individuals arrested for violent crimes in Santa Monica were subsequently released from jail (“LETTERS — Repeat Violent Offenders Expose Folly of Criminal Justice Policies,” November 30, 2022).

To be sure, this question is not an exemplar of the art of polling. It is loaded, to put it mildly. Even so, the result of 92% yes, 6% no, and 2% duh is striking.

Of course, there is a limit to what the city can do. In California, city attorneys can only prosecute misdemeanors. Felonies go to the county district attorney, which for Los Angeles County is the notoriously pro-criminal George Gascón. Still, this indicator of awakening is encouraging.