Sunday, August 16, 2015

Good intentions - Causes, Consequences and Unintended Consequences

An interesting example of good intentions gone astray from In the Wake of Proposition 47, California Sees a Crime Wave by Debra Saunders.

"The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act" isn't living up to its promise. Also known as Proposition 47, the California ballot initiative, which was approved in November 2014 with 60 percent of the vote, downgraded drug possession and many property crimes from a felony to a misdemeanor. Proponents argued that lesser punishment for low-level offenders would enhance public safety. San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon was the rare prosecutor who pushed for its approval. He told the San Francisco Chronicle, "What we have been doing hasn't worked, frankly."
In San Francisco, theft from cars is up 47 percent this year over the same period in 2014. Auto theft is up by 17 percent. Robberies are up 23 percent. And aggravated assaults are up 2 percent, according to San Francisco police spokesman Carlos Manfredi. Burglaries are down 5 percent.

The City of Angels saw a 12.7 percent increase in overall crime this year, according to the Los Angeles Times; violent offenses rose 20.6 percent, while property crime rose by 11 percent. Mayor Eric Garcetti says Prop 47 may explain Los Angeles' change in course from crime reduction to crime increases.
Unintended Consequence
"It used to be that if you were caught in the possession of methamphetamine, you would be arrested; you'd end up in drug court or in some other program, probably in custody receiving some type of treatment," Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig told the Daily Democrat. "Well, now the officers on the street just give them a ticket. So they have been arrested for a crime. The case actually gets forwarded to my office. We charge them with a crime, but they never show up to court. They get arrested again and are given another ticket for methamphetamine. And so we've seen that."

Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell says LA substance abuse treatment rolls are down 60 percent. Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean told the Ventura County Reporter that Prop 47 got drug offenders out of jail "but it also got them out of treatment." He also believes the measure will increase violent crime, as substance abusers commit more robberies and assaults.

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