LOS ANGELES (AP) — A recent change in California law making certain drug and property crimes misdemeanors instead of felonies played "a significant role" in the rising crime rate in Los Angeles County and has taken away the incentive for addicts to seek treatment, Sheriff Jim McDonnell said Thursday.
In an interview with The Associated Press, McDonnell also said legalizing marijuana for recreational use is a bad idea and that recent public backlash against police over use of force is having an impact on his agency, the largest sheriff's department in the country.
Many in law enforcement have criticized Proposition 47, which voters passed last November. To ease overcrowding in the prison system, it reduced the penalties for shoplifting, forgery, fraud, petty theft and possession of small amounts of drugs — including cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines.
So far this year the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department reports a 3.39 percent increase in violent crime and a 6.9 percent increase in property crime.
"We had 10 years of crime reductions, we were at 50-year lows in many areas on crime statistics, and all of a sudden, right after November when 47 kicked in, that changed — and fairly dramatically, very quickly," he said. "It would be naive to say that 47 didn't play a major role in that."[/QUOTE][/QUOTE]There's more in the article.
Is anyone surprised?