Study: Thefts Rise After Criminal Penalties Are Reduced

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – California researchers are linking a voter-backed reduction in criminal penalties for drug and property crimes in 2014 to a jump in car burglaries, shoplifting and other theft. The Public Policy Institute of California reports that larcenies increased about 9 percent by 2016, or about 135 more thefts per 100,000 residents. Thefts from motor vehicles accounted for about three-quarters of the increase. San Francisco recorded more than 30,000 auto burglaries last year, which authorities largely blamed on gangs. Violent crime in California has also gone up, but researchers say Proposition 47 is not the cause. Proposition 47 lowered criminal sentences for drug possession, theft, shoplifting, identity theft, receiving stolen property, writing bad checks and check forgery from felonies to misdemeanors.

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