Have “The Safe Neighborhood and School Act” (Prop 47) and “The Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act” (Prop 57) made our communities safer? With a significant increase in property crimes and other criminal activity, one can make a strong case that Prop 47 and 57, not to mention AB 109 and bail reform, are having the opposite effect. 

Reducing the penalties for gun theft, possession of date rape drugs, agricultural crime and other serious offenses does not reduce crime but in fact places our community at risk for increased criminal activity. 

Due to statutory changes in the law, repeat offenders who commit thefts, forgeries and fraud experience minimal consequences so long as the losses to the victims are less than $950. There is no cumulative effect either. As long as the crime is less than $950, a criminal can commit a crime every day without yesterday’s offense being considered in association with today’s offense. Does this really make our community safer?

Thanks to Prop 57, assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer is not even considered a felony. Is it any wonder local law enforcement officers are experiencing more situations where perpetrators are resisting arrest and assaulting officers? 

Other crimes not considered to be violent under Prop 57 include solicitation to commit murder, battery with serious bodily injury, domestic violence, first degree burglary, rape of an unconscious person or by use of a date rape drug, assault with a deadly weapon and exploding a destructive device with the intent to cause injury. 

Crime rates across California are on the rise. More communities are experiencing the devastating impact of “good intentions” gone bad. How is public safety enhanced by reducing felony acts to misdemeanors and releasing felons early from prison? 

AB 109 resulted in 45,000 felons being transferred from state prisons to local jails. Covid-19 reduced the local jail population by 35%. 

According to the Morgan Hill Police Department, there was a 20% increase in calls for service during the third quarter of 2021 compared to the first quarter of 2021. There was also a 21% increase in arrests in the third quarter of 2021 compared to the first quarter of 2021. 

Below are a few examples of a statewide trend communities are dealing with showing how individuals are being arrested repeatedly with no real enforcement to protect community members:

– One woman has been arrested 41 times since 2011 and has been placed on probation 22 different times.

– Another report indicates a male offender being arrested 17 times in one year alone.

-Officers have arrested one individual 21 times since 2012, many of those arrests being in a single year. In four confrontations, the individual violently resisted arrest. This individual has been placed on probation 14 different times and is currently back on the streets.

Why do we think allowing criminals to do the same thing over and over again with no consequences will ultimately lead to upright and moral behavior on their part? How many crimes does one individual have to commit before they are brought to justice? 

We need to get beyond the idea that those who commit criminal acts are not responsible for their own actions. We must hold individuals accountable for their behavior and stop blaming their parents, school officials, neighbors and others. It’s ludicrous to assume society has let these criminally minded individuals down and not acknowledge they are letting society down. It’s the responsibility of every citizen to live law-abiding lives and contribute to the betterment of society. 

Cruel and unusual punishment is not when a criminal suffers discomfort in the execution of justice. Cruel and unusual punishment occurs when society fails to carry out justice and allows victims to suffer the consequences of unrepentant, irresponsible, and careless acts of violence. 

It may be time to overturn these misleading public safety propositions and make our communities safe again. 

Mark Turner, mayoral candidate

Morgan Hill

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