It’s been a decade since California voters passed Proposition 47, which reduced penalties for drug and property crimes in the state.
Now there are those who want to take back the measure. Led by a pair of Democratic mayors and major retailers like Target and Walmart, a group is trying to get Proposition 47 repealed to give power back to prosecutors and allow them to charge thieves with felonies, reports the Orange County Register.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed and San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan are also leading the charge.
“A small number of people brazenly commit crimes without fear of accountability,” said Mahan. “People are so trapped in addiction that they refuse services and subsist in misery in our streets.”
Target recently closed three locations in California due to theft.
The ballot measure would allow separate thefts to be added up to surpass the $950 threshold for felony charges, and it would also ramp up sentencing for people working as a group to steal goods or for taking more than $50,000 in property.
Walmart, according to the Orange County Register, has donated $1 million to the cause while Target has contributed $500,000.
Proposition 47 was put in place to cut incarceration rates, reduce racial disparities, and to cut prison costs, among other things.
However, crime rates, especially involving retailers, are on the rise. A study by the National Retail Federation in 2023 revealed that shrink inventory rose to 1.6% of sales in 2022, a 1.4% rise from the previous year. It amounted to around $112 billion in lost merchandise, with theft accounting for two-thirds of the amount.
The study also said two California cities — Los Angeles and San Francisco — led the list of U.S. metro areas most impacted by organized retail crime. Sacramento also landed in the top 10.