CALIFORNIA CRIME WATCH - “It is time that the reign of criminals who are destroying our city … come to an end.
And it comes to an end when we take the steps to be more aggressive with law enforcement … and less tolerant of all the bulls—t that has destroyed our city.”
“We need to … ensure that those who commit crime are held to account and that no one gets a free pass.”
“The need for a system that can … alert law enforcement to vehicles associated with violent crime, in real time, has never been more apparent.”
“Once we had the issue of a lot of folks coming to Melrose to do crime, we said, ‘We have to hit this with everything we have,’ so we put in some extra funding.”
“I will not wait out this holiday season and let these organized groups continue to believe they can prey on California shoppers and retailers with no repercussions.”
These Tuesday comments did not come from Fox News commentators or even California conservatives. They came from California Democrats — San Francisco Mayor London Breed, Attorney General Rob Bonta, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz and Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin of Thousand Oaks, respectively — signaling a definitive shift in the party’s approach to crime ahead of the 2022 elections.
Case in point were the politicians’ Tuesday announcements:
- Breed proposed increasing overtime funding for the San Francisco police department to crack down on drug dealers — and possibly drug users — in the troubled Tenderloin neighborhood.
- Bonta pledged to pour “more resources” into investigating organized retail theft and improve collaboration with local law enforcement, retailers and social media platforms — where some theft rings are organizing.
- Schaaf asked Gov. Gavin Newsom to deploy license plate readers on state highway on- and off-ramps in Oakland to help catch thieves, send in more California Highway Patrol officers and direct the attention of its retail theft task force to Oakland robberies.
- Koretz and other city councilmembers have tapped into their own district funds to pay for more than $1.5 million in police overtime as the Los Angeles Police Department struggles to fill open positions.
- And Irwin announced plans to introduce legislation that would reauthorize district attorneys to prosecute organized retail theft and similar crimes that often cross county lines.
The tough-on-crime rhetoric comes amid a sea of sobering statistics: Oakland police on Monday announced they’re investigating the 131st homicide of the year — the city’s highest total in a decade. And a Tuesday report from the Public Policy Institute of California found that homicides, aggravated assaults and violent and property crime rates in Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego and San Francisco are all up in 2021 compared to last year.
Also cracking down on crime is the state Employment Development Department, which announced Tuesday that it has suspended payments on certain disability insurance claims and is subjecting medical and health providers to increased vetting to halt “a recent move by organized criminal elements to file false disability insurance claims.” The department, which has already confirmed paying at least $20 billion worth of fraudulent claims, said its actions would help prevent “further fraud” but could result in longer wait times for legitimate claimants.
(Emily Hoeven writes the daily WhatMatters newsletter for CalMatters. Her reporting, essays, and opinion columns have been published in San Francisco Weekly, the Deseret News, the San Francisco Business Times, the Flathead Beacon, the Daily Pennsylvanian, and the Mercury News.)