Sacramento Sheriff Says Voters Were ‘Duped’ Into Law That Sparked Shoplifting Surge

Sacramento Sheriff Jim Cooper is speaking out again about the scourge of retail theft in California. Shoplifting is “way beyond crisis level,” he told Fox Digital last week — and he thinks he knows why.

“It really started with the change in law in 2014 with Prop 47,” the former Democratic assemblyman said. “The voters were duped into voting for that. It was called the safe streets and schools act.”

Prop. 47 was a 2014 ballot measure that reduced many non-violent crimes to misdemeanors, most notably shoplifting and other thefts involving less than $950. 

As the Sacramento Bee warned at the time, “under Proposition 47, people who commit petty crimes would be sent to prison if they have records of homicide or sex crimes, but not for many other serious crimes such as armed robbery, carjacking, residential burglary, or assault with a deadly weapon.”  

Law enforcement leaders and district attorneys across California insisted the law would lead to an increase in property crime. Nevertheless, the measure passed with over 58% of the vote. 

In 2020, a ballot measure that would have reformed the law was also rejected by voters. Prop. 20, which would have increased the potential penalties for serial thefts and organized retail crime, garnered just 38% of the vote.  

Although Cooper places most of the blame on so-called criminal justice reform laws, he has also pointed the finger at corporations. As County News reported this month, Cooper has accused stores like Target and Walgreens of enabling retail crime by prioritizing their image above safety and refusing to cooperate with law enforcement.  


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