Spurring heated debates all over, California’s law enforcement policies, which have led to decreasing arrest rates and early prison releases, are being blamed for the sharp surge in crime rates.
In a recent report, Fox News stated that a large majority are now blaming the liberal law enforcement policies for the surge in crime. The program was designed to decrease the number of individuals imprisoned while ensuring the safety of the people; however, critics are pointing to the numbers to show that the program is ineffective at keeping people safe and quite effective at reducing the number of inmates.
“The most recent statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice show violent crime rates in some California cities has increased by over 50 percent,” said Michele Hanisee, president of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys. “If you look at the national data, our violent crime rates are going up faster than the rest of the nation. So why?”
Police officials and prosecutors have an explanation though; a number of prison reform measures, which reduce the state prison population by 20,000 inmates, by making certain felonies misdemeanors and liberating non-violent offenders earlier than usual. Assembly Bill 109, which saved California around $100 million, saw the transfer of 60,000 felony parole violators a year from state prison to county control. However, some believe that it did cause a lot of trouble.
The number of arrests has also fallen drastically in California, but the cause is believed to be much murkier than the one for plummeting imprisonments.
The Los Angeles Times reported that arrests by the LAPD fell by 25% in two years from 2013 to 2015. Although the reason behind the trend is still unclear, similar decreases were observed throughout the state. What is considered to be the lowest arrests recorded in about 50 years, the California attorney general’s office reported that arrests fell to 1.1 million in 2015 from 1.5 million in 2006.
Some give credit to the latest police policies that focus on preventing crime rather than waiting for it to happen then arrest perpetrators. Meanwhile, others believe that officers’ morale is considerably low as a result of liberal law enforcement policies and the national debate on police tactics.
However, despite the promise to decrease the cycle of crime through liberal law enforcement policies, crime is on the rise in the state. A 2015 report from the Public Policy Institute of California indicates that property crime rose by 6.6% while violent crime was up by 6.6%. This surge in crime rates was noted for a large number of counties.