It has been obvious for years, if not decades, that going soft on criminals does not discourage them from committing crimes. It only shows them that they can break the law with minimal consequences.


OP-ED By Michael Letts/WND News Service. Used with permission.

OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.


As the problem has snowballed into an epidemic in the large Democrat-controlled cities, residents and businesses are fleeing the cities as soon as they can. It has reached the point that even Democrats are admitting being soft on crime doesn’t work.


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San Mateo County (California) Supervisor David Canepa backed Proposition 47, passed a decade ago. It drastically reduced penalties for shoplifting if the items are valued at less than $950. Many people say that it essentially legalized shoplifting in California.

Canepa said he saw the proposition as a way to give people serving long sentences for shoplifting a second chance.

“I thought it was a good idea then because we need to give people an opportunity, we need to give people a chance,” Canepa told CBS.

Canepa believed it was a second chance for the criminals to get their lives on track. The criminals saw it as a second chance to shoplift and get away with it. This has led to a surge in petty theft in the state.

Now, Canepa has admitted that he was wrong to back Prop. 47 in 2014. “I made a mistake. It was a big mistake, and you have to acknowledge your mistake,” he said. “By doing this, what we’ve done is we’re letting people take thousands and thousands of dollars. And why should people be subjugated? We can’t go on like this.”

On X (formerly Twitter), Canepa admitted that the state’s efforts to combat retail crime “is not working. $30 billion lost to national retail theft is an absolute outrage! The fear of organized retail theft is driving people away from our beloved shopping centers.”

He may have seen the data from the National Retail Federation (NRF). It showed retail theft and other inventory loss was $94.5 billion in 2021, up from $90.8 billion in 2020. Thirty-seven percent of that amount came from external theft (i.e., shoplifting), which amounted to $35 billion.

While admitting failure is a good first step, it needs to be followed up with actions that show the county leadership understands the problem, is taking it seriously, and will change how it deals with crime.

Canepa wrote on X that he will introduce legislation to form a task force in San Mateo County comprised of law enforcement and business leaders. Its goal will be to come up with new strategies and sentencing guidelines. It won’t be a quick fix, but it may be a step in the right direction.

However, Canepa appears to be in the minority among Democratic politicians. A Democrat recently tried to get Prop. 47 modified through amendments. This was the fifth time it had been tried and the fifth time the Democrat-controlled California Legislature killed it.

How much more will crime need to increase in California before enough of the legislators opens their eyes to see the truth and make positive changes?


Disclaimer: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.