Headline RoundupDecember 7th, 2021

California's Theft Penalties, Bail Policies in Spotlight Amid Crime Wave

Summary from the AllSides News Team

Amid an outbreak of organized looting in California, critics are honing in on state laws regarding bail for criminals and property theft.

Coverage across the political spectrum highlighted a series of robberies at California retail stores in recent weeks. California Proposition 47, which was passed in 2014 and branded by supporters as a way to reduce jail overcrowding, makes theft of property valued under $950 a misdemeanor instead of a felony. In March, California's Supreme Court ruled that judges must consider a suspect’s ability to pay when setting bail prices. Reports on all sides cite critics who say these rules encourage smash-and-grab robberies since they lower the punishments for theft and the likelihood that looting will be prosecuted. Amid a similar crime wave in Illinois this September, Attorney General Kwame Raoul said crime rings cost retailers nationwide roughly $45 billion in annual losses. California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) called on local leaders to "step up" and said "we want people prosecuted and we want people to feel safe this holiday season."

Right-rated outlets have reported on the crime wave more consistently. Outlets across the spectrum cite Proposition 47, low law enforcement resources and dwindling police morale amid the Defund the Police movement as reasons for the widespread looting. The right often focuses on the "zero-bail" policy, and criticizes Newsom, the mayors of Los Angeles and San Francisco, and other local Democratic leaders for purportedly going soft on criminals and enabling the crime wave.

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