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Proposition 20: The Reducing Crime and Keeping California Safe Act

The Inland Empire Chamber Alliance voted to support Proposition 20: The Reducing Crime and Keeping California Safe Act, which will appear on the November 3, 2020 ballot.

The Act rewrites two earlier criminal justice reform ballot measures (Proposition 47 and Proposition 57) to enhance the disincentive to commit property crimes and retail thefts, and reclassify certain violent crimes to remove special sentencing reductions.

Many cities around California have reported an increase in retail theft. For instance, Vacaville police records show the annual loss to retail theft has more than doubled since 2014. Organized retail theft, crimes with multiple suspects, were up 40% in 2019 as compared with 2014 in Vacaville. FBI crime data also shows retail theft is up statewide. Additionally, California has had a larger increase in violent crime than the rest of the United States since 2014. Violent crime in Los Angeles has increased 69.5% since 2013.

The Keep California Safe initiative discourages organized retail thefts by increasing penalties and saves retailers thousands of dollars in lost merchandise and loss prevention programs. The initiative:

  • Revises the theft threshold by adding a felony for serial theft — when a person is caught for the 3rd time stealing with a value of $250.

    • Prop. 47 changed the dollar threshold for theft to be considered a felony — from $450 to $950. As a result, there has been an explosion of serial theft and an inability of law enforcement to prosecute these crimes effectively.

  • Expands the list of violent crimes for which early release isn’t an option.

    • Under current law, rape of an unconscious person, trafficking a child for sex, assault of a peace officer, felony domestic violence and other similar crimes are not classified as “violent felonies” — making criminals convicted of these crimes eligible for early release

  • Requires the Board of Parole Hearings to consider an inmate’s entire criminal history when deciding parole, not just his most recent commitment offense.

    • Existing law bases parole solely on an offender’s commitment offense, resulting in the release of inmates with serious and violent criminal histories. Moreover, parolees who repeatedly violate the terms of their parole currently face few consequences, allowing them to remain on the street.

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