Coalition to submit signatures to put tough-on-crime initiative on California ballot

(18 Apr 2024)

San Francisco – 18 April 2024
1. Wide shot of press conference
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Carl Chan, President, Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce:
"I know that the lawmakers, along with many, many voters actually had good intentions. But unfortunately Prop 47 has had worse, unintended consequences, which are hurting many, many people."
3. Dana and Jerry Ogden, whose son died from fentanyl overdose, listen to press conference
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Leanne Louis, San Francisco Community Activist:
"So many of our laws have changed. We have decriminalized a lot of crimes that used to be crimes. Now people can go into stores and steal up to $950 with practically no consequences. This makes businesses close. We have seen so many businesses leave the Bay area and we’re really concerned about the future."
5. Supporter at press conference holds campaign sign
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Dana Ogden, Lost son to fentanyl overdose:
"The Homelessness, Drug Addiction and Theft Reduction Act embodies the change we desperately need. It prioritizes rehabilitation for those battling addiction, while increasing the penalties for drug traffickers who profit from spreading death and devastation."
7. More supporters hold campaign signs
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Cathy Adams, Executive Director, Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce:
"We don’t believe in massive incarceration, but at the end of the day, something has got to be done. Because as community residents living in our cities, the chamber protecting our businesses, we need this level of support."
9. Campaign sign shows major sponsors include Walmart, Target & Home Depot
A coalition backed by retailers like Walmart and Target announced Thursday it has collected enough signatures to put a ballot measure before California voters this November to enhance criminal penalties for shoplifting and drug dealing.

Californians for Safer Communities, a bipartisan group made up of law enforcement, elected officials and businesses, said it has collected more than 900,000 signatures in support of the measure.

It would roll back parts of Proposition 47, a progressive ballot measure approved by 60% of state voters in 2014 that reduced certain theft and drug possession offenses from felonies to misdemeanors to help address overcrowding in jails.

In recent years, Proposition 47 has become the focus of critics who say California is too lax on crime.

Videos of large-scale thefts, in which groups of individuals brazenly rush into stores and take goods in plain sight, have often gone viral. The California Retailers Association said it’s challenging to quantify the issue in California because many stores don’t share their data.

Crime data shows the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles saw a steady increase in shoplifting between 2021 and 2022, according to a study by the non-partisan Public Policy Institute of California.

Across the state, shoplifting rates rose during the same time period but were still lower than the pre-pandemic levels in 2019, while commercial burglaries and robberies have become more prevalent in urban counties, the study says.

The ballot measure would create harsher penalties for repeat shoplifters and fentanyl dealers.

Shoplifters would be charged with a felony, regardless of the amount stolen, if they have at least two prior theft convictions.

County and state officials must now verify the signatures before the measure is officially placed on the ballot.


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Author: admin