In mid-April, the leader of CalExit, a movement to have California secede from the United States and become an independent nation, announced that he was dropping the effort and moving to Russia.But by their words and actions, California’s political leaders have made it clear that on matters of law enforcement the state has already seceded.
In recent weeks, the governor, attorney general, legislative leaders, and even mayors and city councils have stumbled over each other to announce that the state will not participate in any national effort to secure the nation’s borders or crack down on drug-dealing street gangs and violent criminals.
Some undeniable legacies of the Obama administration have been the explosion of violent crime in many U.S. urban centers, a widespread increase in drug trafficking, and an accompanying record-setting number of fatal drug overdoses.
While the causes or even the existence of these facts are disputed by liberal/progressive political and academic leaders and their followers, it is also undeniable that the only candidate for the presidency who consistently targeted the increases in violence and drugs under the Obama administration was the candidate who won the election.
While the deniers and hecklers continue their resistance, sometimes violently, the new president is working to address the pervasive crime, violence, and drugs that most Americans outside of Hollywood, the Beltway, and academia are witnessing firsthand.
In an article in the City Journal in late April, Manhattan Institute scholar Heather MacDonald laid out a game plan on fighting crime for the Trump administration.
Among her suggestions is to widely report existing data about the relationship of criminal commission and victimization among different racial groups with police responses, including shootings, to expose the false narrative that police are racially targeting blacks when the data makes it clear that they are targeting criminals.
Other suggestions include: evaluating Obama-era consent decrees on police agencies, on the basis of whether they are helping or hindering the ability of police to protect people living in urban neighborhoods from criminals; expanding Department of Justice data collection on the impact that different sentencing and policing policies have on crime and recidivism; cracking down on sanctuary cities; reversing the previous administration’s failure to prosecute gun crimes; and pursuing partnerships with private enterprise to refocus prison rehabilitation on productive work and marketable skills development.
Most law enforcement leaders have made clear that they would welcome these initiatives, as would the leaders of most states which are experiencing increased crime.
California is the exception.
For several years, the one-party Golden State has been in denial about the increases in crime which have occurred since it enacted several laws to sharply reduce the consequences for criminals.
Although state politicians and academics promised that these new laws would reduce crime, the data indicates the opposite outcome.
The FBI Preliminary Uniform Crime Report released in January 2016, which counts crimes in cities with populations of 100,000 or more, found that in California there was a 12.9% increase in violent crime and a 9.2% increase in property crime from January through June 2015.
The same report found that large cities outside of California had just a 1.7% increase in violent crime and a 4.2% drop in property crime.
In April 2016, the California Police Chiefs Association reported that the 2015 increases in violent and property crimes in the state’s largest cities is also occurring in smaller communities across the state.
The report projected that California cities with populations of less than 100,000 suffered a 15.25% increase in property crime and a 15.41% increase in violent crime, while smaller cities outside of California had a 6.5% drop in property crime and only a 1.3% increase in violent crime.
The report also noted that the increase in property crime in California’s smaller cities is the largest year-over-year increase since at least 1960, while the increase in violent crime is the largest year-over-year increase since 1990.
The FBI’s Uniform Crime Report released last September indicated that for the nation as a whole the 2015 violent crime rate increased 3.0%, while California’s rate increased 2-1/2 times as much, 7.6%. (All rates are reported as the number of crimes per 100,000 population.)
The property crime rate for the nation as a whole declined 3.4%, while California’s increased 7.2%. That is, California’s net change in the property crime rate was 10.6% greater than the nation’s as a whole.
Looking at the country’s 10 largest states, all nine of the others had decreases in property crime. Georgia had the largest decline at 10.0%, while Florida had the smallest at 4.1%. California alone had an increase in property crime, and a substantial one.
The FBI Preliminary Crime Report released last January indicated that in 2016 violent crime increased in two-thirds of California’s largest cities. Data analysis found that of the 69 California cities listed in the report, 46 had increases in violent crime last year.
Some cities saw increases of more than 50% in crimes, including murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. In Los Angeles, violent crime rose 16.8% compared to 2015.
Cities with the largest violent crime increases included Moreno Valley (+66.3%), Burbank (+50.7%), Fremont (+41.6%), El Cajon (+27.8%), Santa Maria (+26.1%), Rialto (+22.7%), Riverside (+22.5%), and Pasadena (+18.1%).
The largest increases in murder were reported in San Jose (+127%), Santa Ana (+116.6%), San Bernardino (+100%), San Diego (+41.1%) and Berkeley (+35%). Rapes increased in many cities, including in Corona (+166%), Fremont (+73.6%), Fairfield (+70.5%) and Elk Grove (+68.4%).
For four years running, all but one of the bipartisan efforts by the California Legislature to reform realignment and Proposition 47 measures that released thousands of criminals from prison and reduced the sentences for most new crimes, failed to get enough votes to pass. Gov. Brown vetoed the only one that did reach his desk, and it was an extremely mild reform at that.
Last year, George Soros and Brown pooled $10 million to convince voters to pass Proposition 57, which was promoted as giving nonviolent criminals who behaved well in prison a chance for release on parole.
According to the state’s district attorneys, for the purposes of Prop. 57 an example of a nonviolent offender is a residential burglar with priors for rape and aggravated assault.
In his State of the State address earlier this year, the governor failed to even mention crime. By my rather rigid standards, this constitutes a denial that there is a crime problem. The predictable response from the left is that violent crime is nowhere near as high as it was in the early 1990s, so there is nothing to worry about.
Tell that to the family of the police officer in Whittier gunned down last February by an ex-con and violent street gang member who was left on the streets by Gov. Brown’s “Public Safety Realignment” law, or the thousands of other Californians who have become victims because of it.
It is clear that the Trump administration’s aggressive new efforts to reduce crime and protect public safety across America will not be felt in California.