Imagine if Texas voters chose to reduce criminal sentences for drug and property crimes. California voters did so in passing Proposition 47 in 2014, and are now seeing an increase in car burglaries, shoplifting and other theft.
Larcenies across California rose nine percent in 2016, with thefts from motor vehicles accounting for three-quarters of that increase, according to the Public Policy Institute of California.
“If there's no fear of going to jail or if they know they're only going to spend a night in there, of course they're going to stick with their life of crime, there's no consequences,” says Joe Gamaldi, president of the Houston Police Officers' Union.
Gamaldi says there's a reason identity theft and forgery are considered felonies in Texas and elsewhere.
“Too often nowadays everyone is concerned about the criminal's rights, the person who has already broken the laws of our society, and no one stops to think about the victim,” he says. “Is there any justice for them when they do things like this? Of course not.”
The California Police Chiefs Association is already pushing to roll back part of the law.
“The people who are out there robbing folks, stealing their identities, murdering people or burglarizing homes, let's make sure we're throwing the book at them. Let's make sure we're getting maximum sentences on them, because those are the people that truly don't belong in our community,” says Gamaldi.