Dan Foscalina was out and about in Walnut Creek Friday night when he looked up to see local police chasing – and catching – two persons fleeing from the law on Broadway Plaza.
He snapped a picture of the moment as officers cuffed the pair and led them away.
And while we had several calls about this incident and briefly considered “Flashing” a news alert about it, it was just one of so many incidents Friday that we opted not to, electing to alert our users to incidents involving “Bigger Fish.”
This led to some discussion here at the NEWS24/680 control center about the current
state of “petty crime” we have been seeing in our area of late, predicted by local police chiefs as 2014’s Proposition 47 was put to public vote – a move law enforcement said would open the floodgates of petty crime.
The effects have been dramatic, with thefts spiking and taking on almost Keystone Cops proportion, leading to potentially dangerous confrontations between crooks and employees and the occasional involved citizen.
After posting a story on one such “blitz theft” in Alamo Thursday we received dozens of calls and emails from readers who had witnessed similar occurrences, including this one from reader Larry Candeub:
“Saw something similar at the Home Depot in San Ramon, around 11:30 today (Thursday). Couple walked in, took a bunch of power tools and got into a waiting car. A little surreal, as the employees did not actively engage. Glad they didn’t, good training I guess, as no one was injured…”
As Larry points out the stores have their own policies regarding shoplifters and thieves and, as guns have been pulled and even fired, a “let the police take care of them” attitude seems to be prevailing with bystanders standing by to watch – and often film – the action.
Many have placed the blame for the highly visible flurry of property crime squarely on Proposition 47, the ballot measure that reclassified six nonviolent crimes from felonies to misdemeanors.
Law enforcement officials have maintained that Proposition 47 is behind the recent increase in crime, not only of violent crime but more noticeably auto thefts, burglaries and other nonviolent offenses.
In 2016, the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice issued a report that found “no correlation between rates of Proposition 47-related prison releases or jail population decreases and county crime.”
And the Public Policy Institute of California released a study of “California’s historic corrections reforms,” concluding they “did not lead to a broad increase in crime rates” but may have contributed to a rise in auto thefts.
The PPIC report suggests that the perceived uptick in crime may just be an anomaly in an otherwise “long-term decline.”
Dan and Larry and many others aren’t so sure.