(Democrats making crime legal.) California ballot measure blamed for shoplifting jump | Fox News | https://t.co/OqUzmTBdA0— Warner Todd Huston (@warnerthuston) May 15, 2016
Perry Lutz says his struggle to survive as a small businessman became a lot harder after California voters reduced theft penalties 1½ years ago.
About a half-dozen times this year, shoplifters have stolen expensive drones or another of the remote-controlled toys he sells in HobbyTown USA, a small shop in Rocklin, northeast of Sacramento. "It's just pretty much open season," Lutz said. "They'll pick the $800 unit and just grab it and run out the door."
Anything below $950 keeps the crime a misdemeanor — and likely means the thieves face no pursuit and no punishment, say retailers and law enforcement officials. Large retailers including Safeway, Target, Rite Aid and CVS pharmacies say shoplifting increased at least 15 percent, and in some cases, doubled since voters approved Proposition 47 and ended the possibility of charging shoplifting as a felony with the potential for a prison sentence.
Shoplifting reports to the Los Angeles Police Department jumped by a quarter in the first year, according to statistics the department compiled for The Associated Press. The ballot measure also lowered penalties for forgery, fraud, petty theft and drug possession.
Public Policy Institute of California researcher Magnus Lofstrom noted a troubling increase in property crime inCalifornia's largest cities in the first half-year after Proposition 47 took effect. Preliminary FBI crime reports show a 12 percent jump in larceny-theft, which includes shoplifting, but he said it is too early to determine what, if any, increase is due to the ballot measure.