Police in San Ramon have put a number on a perceived increase in car and residential burglaries in their city – and it’s big.
Residents have complained about the jump for some time, their complaints echoed by anecdotal reports of brazen thefts – commonly committed during daylight hours – from cars, stores, and homes.
San Ramon Police Chief Craig Stevens is expected to report a 38.6 percent jump in property crime in the city at a meeting of his city council tonight. In fairness, neighboring communities are not believed to be faring any better, and have been equally hard hit in recent months.
Stevens is expected to ask civic leaders for reinforcements to help deal with the spike, asking his council to approve the hiring of two new police officers – with a future option for a third – as well as a new Crime Intelligence Coordinator to help deal with the uptick.
The jump in property crimes was offset by San Ramon’s continued qualification as a “safe” city to live in, with violent crime rates still far lower than statewide averages.
“In recent years, state legislation has gone into effect which greatly minimized the consequences to certain criminal offenders and which may have led to the increase in property crimes. This legislation includes AB109, Proposition 47, and Proposition 57,” Stevens wrote in his report to the council.
Police say that – if approved – hiring a new Crime Intelligence Coordinator would expedite the department’s plan to install 47 fixed Automated License Plate Readers and 42 Situational Awareness Cameras throughout the city, a move police believe will help them combat crime in the city.
The San Ramon City Council meets tonight, Tuesday, at 7 p.m. in the San Ramon City Hall Council Chambers, 7000 Bollinger Canyon Road.
AB109, Prop 47 and Prop 57 have a lot to do with the increase in property crimes, especially Prop 47. You get what you vote for. Soft on crime leads to crime increases.
Seems right. Is there a map of crime locations? Anything showing trends etc?
On Prop 57… I wonder what ever happened to the rehabilitation process the state was suppose to do.
The Chief fails to establish an arrow of causality between Propositions 47 and 57 and the uptick in property crime. Mere temporal correlation provides a rickety foundation upon which to deride legislation. Crime has clearly evolved, and law enforcement must adapt.
Further, both initiatives are now codified in the law that his department is duty bound to enforce. It should impress nobody when law enforcement brass blames the law itself for their department’s shortcomings.
This why Prop 47 and 57 are a problem for the public.
Good Morning Everyone,
For those who missed the December meeting of the Command Ops Group, I was elected as the Chairperson for 2020. I’m currently working on dates and sites for our 2020 meetings and I will update the group as soon as they are finalized. On behalf of the group, I want to extend our thanks and sincere appreciation to Walnut Creek PD Captain Steve Gorski who chaired the group for the past three years.
Last week, San Pablo PD Captain Brian Bubar sent out an email to our group seeking clarification of the policies of the District Attorney’s Office on simple drug possession cases, and on Petty Theft cases. Before addressing these issues, it is necessary to put them in context.
Last year District Attorney Becton and the Public Defender were contacted by the presiding judge of the court who stressed the need to reduce the significant backlog of low-level, non-violent misdemeanors as the court system could not handle the overwhelming number of such cases. This was particularly true as many of the cases involved the possession of small quantities of drugs, and minor theft cases. It was also recognized that due to changes in state law, particularly Prop 47, defendants do not face any realistic consequences for convictions of such crimes.
In response to these concerns District Attorney Becton convened a panel of local police chiefs to provide guidance on the issues identified by the courts, and to develop a countywide strategy to address the problem. This was done with the realization that historically the Criminal Justice system was pretty ineffective when dealing with users addicted to drugs or with serious drug problems.
Under the new policy charges on simple drug possession cases will not be considered until an individual has been arrested three times within a one year period. To track these cases, it is requested that agencies submit the arrest report and Request for Prosecution sheet to their local DA’s Office so the subjects can be entered into PBK to initiate the tracking.
There is no need to send drugs out for analysis by the Crime Lab until a deputy district attorney makes the request (generally on the third arrest). The new policies impact only possession and paraphernalia cases (i.e., misdemeanor cases), and do not change our office’s stance on prosecuting those selling or possessing drugs for sale. Also, when cases are referred for diversion, it is done with the expectation that failing diversion may result in criminal charges. There is no minimum amount of controlled substance required as cases are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
On theft cases, if the value of goods is $300 or more, or if Identity Theft is involved regardless of amount, please submit the Request for Prosecution packets as you normally do. Charges will not be considered on theft cases involving less than $300 unless it is the third petty theft arrest within a one year period.
It is important to note that these charging standards do not apply when someone is on Probation, on Post Release Community Supervision, or under other forms of court supervision. Please submit those cases as you normally would.
At last September’s meeting of our group, Dan Cabral discussed some of these changes, and sought your input as to the impact on your agencies and communities. Please feel free to contact Dan or me with your concerns or recommendations. In addition, District Attorney Becton will be attending our March meeting to discuss these issues and any other topics of interest.
One last thing, please realize that these guidelines will be constantly reviewed and changed if needed so please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Thank you and have a good weekend.
CHIEF OF INSPECTORS
CONTRA COSTA DA’S OFFICE
MAIN OFFICE-900 WARD STREET, MARTINEZ, CA 94553
WEST COUNTY-100 37TH STREET, RICHMOND, CA 94805
OFFICE # (925) 957-xxxx
Chief Mulligan – Thank you for posting the statement of policy in this forum. The ad hominem about Props 47 and 57 does little more than speculate about whether those initiatives have any effect whatsoever on an individuals decision to commit petty crime; e.g., “ It was also recognized that due to changes in state law, particularly Prop 47, defendants do not face any realistic consequences for convictions of such crimes.”
Recognized by who? I presume that any scofflaw who has the wherewithal to undertake such a cost-benefit analysis has the good sense not to discuss it with your investigators — couple of whom I’ve known personally and hold in the highest regard — or any other law enforcement officers.
Contrary to widespread misconceptions, neither initiative “legalized” theft. They merely aligned the thresholds for felony “wobblers” with inflation since the thresholds were originally promulgated. A misdemeanor conviction is still a criminal conviction with lifelong consequences that are both realistic and punitive. It is difficult for anyone with a misdemeanor — even a youthful indiscretion — related to theft or fraud to ever work in the legal, accountancy, or financial services industries. Even “victimless” misdemeanor convictions like a underage-possession of alcohol or a little dope in college preclude eligibility to rent apartments or myriad professional licenses.
The dynamic you described above is indeed troubling: The DA’s office and Superior Court are overtly opting not to enforce the laws that rightly criminalize theft and fraud due to purported resource constraints and competing priorities. We agree that this is a problem, and knowledge of such resource allocation decisions could plausibly endow optimistic petty crooks with a sense of impunity.
That has nothing whatsoever to do with Prop 47 or Prop 57. There are there buckets of citizens here:
1. Those of us who do not steal because stealing is wrong.
2. Amoral profit maximizers who would never risk any criminal conviction (felony or misdemeanor) for a fleeting financial gain because the risk adjusted economic returns are unfavorable.
3. Those who have no moral qualms with stealing AND believe they won’t get caught or just don’t care if they get caught. They will not be deterred by any penalty.
The DA’s and Presiding Judge’s voluntarily enforcement policy fiats are catnip to both buckets one and two. Props 47 and 57 have zero effect on either.
Anytime you MINIMIZE the consequences to criminal activity, you will have an increase in crime. This is rocket science.
Assuming, arguendo, that criminal justice and judicial policy can be simplified to the point of colloquial bromides, that premise is unavailing with respect to causality.
Chief Mulligan describes a situation where resource allocation decisions at the DA’s office have purportedly engendered an aura of impunity among petty criminals. If true, this is disturbing. If they need more resources, then they need to approach the taxpayers and explain how more funding will confer public benefits. Deriding a procedural law they don’t like to justify recalcitrant refusal to adequately enforce of those we entrust them to uphold exhibits petulance unbecoming of their office.
Isn’t rocket science.
If it’s so easy why can’t SRPD and the CCDA effectively enforce the law?
PETTY THEFT IS STILL A CRIME, yet our local constabulary and prosecutors unapologetically refuse to enforce laws if the statutory penalties are not to their liking. That is not law enforcement; that is bureaucratic intransigence.
It is not law enforcement’s place to second guess statutes promulgated under the auspices of due process. Such insubordinate passive protest by civil servants is out of line in a democracy.