Customers at the Apple store in Sacramento’s Arden Fair Mall last weekend noticed an armed police officer standing at the door. This was a response to a wave of Apple store robberies in northern California, including four at the Apple store in nearby Roseville in 30 days. In July, in similar style, four thieves stole $27,000 of Apple products from the Apple store in Fresno’s Fashion Fair Mall.
This recent crime wave may have been inspired by Prop 47, which lowered sentences for drug possession, theft, shoplifting, identity theft, receiving stolen property, writing bad checks and check forgery. The 2014 ballot measure changed these offenses from felonies that can bring prison terms to misdemeanors that often bring minimal jail sentences, if thieves are charged at all.
As we noted, in San Francisco last year criminals pulled off nearly 30,000 car break-ins and police made arrests in only 1.7 percent of the cases. That could easily have proved inspiring to those now ripping off Apple stores, and these thefts are more than simple property crime. The stolen items all belong to people, whether consumers or business owners. Meanwhile, violent criminals also enjoy new government incentives.
Proposition 57, California’s 2016 Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act, expanded parole possibilities for nonviolent offenders and was supposed to reduce the prison population and save taxpayers money. Instead, it burns up more taxpayer dollars and gives some of the worst violent offenders a shot at early release. Those include convicted double murderer Daniel Marsh of Davis, one of the most depraved criminals in state and national history. Despite no new exculpatory evidence, Prop 57 was applied retroactively and his conviction reversed pending a “transfer hearing.”
Next week, a Yolo County judge will rule whether Marsh serves only until age 25, which would amount to nine years for two murders. SB 1390, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on September 30, bars the prosecution in adult court of those ages 14-18, whatever the gravity of their crime.
K. Lloyd Billingsley is a Policy Fellow at the Independent Institute and a columnist at The Daily Caller.