California Retailers Support Bill To Increase Penalties For Theft

A host of leftist-endorsed changes to policing and prosecution, particularly in large cities, has led to a marked increase in crimes of all types over the course of the past several years.

One of the most notable examples involves Proposition 47, which passed in California nearly a decade ago and resulted in a downgrade for many offenses — including shoplifting and theft of under $950 — from a felony to a misdemeanor.

Almost immediately, the rate of such crimes began to increase, resulting in many retailers being forced to close or take extreme measures to protect their inventory and employees.

Now, a group of retailers across the state are joining together in support for a bill aimed at repealing Proposition 47 in hopes of reducing the rampant crime wave.

If approved, the Homelessness, Drug Addiction, and Theft Reduction Act would attach felony penalties to many of the crimes that were reclassified as misdemeanors under the 2014 ballot initiative.

A spokesperson for the California Retailers Association confirmed that the organization supports the bill.

“This issue is too important to the safety of our employees, our customers, and the communities in which we operate to not find effective solutions,” the source added.

Such a change would allow courts to not only implement longer sentences upon conviction but also demand a higher threshold for bail, which supporters of the measure say will help deter criminals and reduce the rate of repeat offenses.

The act would repeal the $950 felony standard for theft and allow anyone with two prior theft convictions to be “charged with a felony, regardless of the value of the stolen property.”

Other crimes addressed in the bill and subject to harsher penalties upon its passage include drug trafficking, burglary, robbery, identity theft, carjacking, mail theft, and shoplifting.

The California Retailers Association is not alone in expressing support for the bill.

Family Business Association of California Executive Director Robert Rivinius confirmed: “We certainly support amending Prop 47, of which the unintended consequences have been disastrous.”

Walmart has reportedly contributed $500,000 to the campaign to repeal Proposition 47.
Even former state Assemblymember Rudy Salas, a Democrat, has spoken out against the status quo, introducing a bill last year that would have permitted felony charges in theft cases with a value of at least $400.

“Enough is enough, we need to fight back against the criminals who are stealing from our communities,” Salas said. “We have seen the unintended consequences of Prop. 47’s weakening of our theft laws and I believe California voters are ready to make their voices heard on this issue again.”

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