Home Letter To The Editor Letters: Politicizing Retail Theft

Letters: Politicizing Retail Theft



While I appreciate your site’s continued effort to bring local news to area residents I must write to warn you of what I feel is the ongoing politicization of the so called flash mob or blitz robberies currently plaguing the state.

Legitimate coverage of this very serious issue is being used to forward the conservative position that lax prosecution by “leftist” or “progressive” prosecutors is behind the surge in retail crime. And while many police chiefs and law enforcement professionals rightfully warned us of the impact of voter-approved Proposition 47, I fear the Republican party is using recent events in Walnut Creek and other East Bay cities to bludgeon the public with the notion that Democrats are the crime and chaos party, and are not in favor of law and order.

Conservative rhetoric and commentary here and on other public forums openly suggests that current “liberal” policies “has given thugs free rein to calmly carry out whatever they want from any store.”

I regard this as fear mongering in its worst form, with the right fanning our fears about crime and public safety and using it as a cover for a regressive power grab that – again in my opinion – would return California to its former standing as a Reagan-era police state.

I would urge readers and voters to look for and learn to recognize the language accompanying such a move so that we might better understand the motivation behind it. And then I would urge a public show of support for business owners, police and local prosecutors so they might bring their considerable power to bear in the prosecution of retail thieves.


Jan Bierkson/Walnut Creek 


  1. There is tangible data that supports the criticism of our local elected officials in this regard. No one does it more thoughtfully than Michael Shellenberger(a progressive Democrat) in his book San Fransicko. Reasonable people of different political persuasions can disagree on “language” but the statistics on crime point to an abysmal failure of the current progressive policies enacted.

    • Jan,

      You should talk to the criminals before you talk for them. You know nothing until you do.

      I am willing to bet they’ll say because there’s no punishment and it’s an easy way for a quick buck. I urge you to go find these people and talk to them before you talk about this subject.

      • “I urge you to go find these people and talk to them before you talk about this subject.”
        And if you can do that apply for work at Walnut Creek police after —- they can use you!

  2. Soft on crime is a motivating factor to these continuing crimes. If you don’t understand this you’re naive at best and ignorant at worst. Progressive politics is based on emotion, not logic and reason. It’s a “feel good” way of thinking that makes the progressive feel better about himself and to the detriment of society. The truth hurts. It’s reality. And it’s not just conservatives that feel this way. I’ve never been a conservative, bu8t conservatives are spot on when it comes to crime.

    • I grew up in communities and churches packed with Midwestern Democrats. There were manners, respect, graffiti was verboten and order commonplace.

      En locus parentis – Latin for the local parent in charge – was understood. If an unrelated adult corrected or scolded you, you got a lecture twice, and possibly worse. And your parents were embarrassed. Today, you might get sued.

      Many of those Democrats became Reagan Republicans. Some also either voted for Barack Obama, or appreciated his significance. It’s not so black and white anymore – Asian American families held car rallies during Covid to help defeat the return of affirmative action in our state. (It was soundly defeated.)

  3. For decades we had a bipartisan, well-run state. Governors like George Deukmejian and Pete Wilson worked with common-sense Democrats. Those days are long gone.

    Let us not forget some of the policies which have led to a historic increase in violent crime within two years.

    – Prop 47 decriminalization
    – No cash bail
    – Governor Newsom releasing thousands of convicted felons
    – Open Border for the numerous Mexican drug cartels
    – Extended lockdowns and mask wearing (anonymity)
    – San Francisco DA reducing prosecutions by over 65%
    – Antifa and BLM riots

    FWIW, I have no affiliation with the Republican Party.

    This is not “fear mongering”, but an honest assessment of how we got here. In my lifetime, I have never witnessed a “police state”. I attended ‘diverse’, peaceful schools in both parts of the state – most which are no longer peaceful. Gang activity is now commonplace in Concord, Antioch, Brentwood and Napa, unheard of 30 years ago.

    I have yet to meet a single White Supremacist, though two men did use the “n word” at the Moraga Barn pub when OJ Simpson was acquitted.

    For the first time in my life, current residents discussing leaving California are ubiquitous. Unfortunately, we have become a high tax welfare state which is driving out both small and large businesses.

    Walnut Creek and San Francisco “leaders” knew exactly what was coming, and did nothing.

  4. I’m sorry Jan, but truly there is a political element to the crime wave. And it is mainly the Democrat officials policies that have allowed it to happen.

    I’ll mention just 2:
    Governor newsome has released almost 20,000 prison inmates under the streets in the last 2 years despite protests by the small minority of Republican leaders in the state.

    Proposition 47. The one that seemed to start it all by allowing people to steal up to $950 and not really be punished. Yes, it was voted in by the people, but it’s worth noting did after it’s damaging results were seen Republican legislators in the state tried to tighten it back up but we’re always shut down by the Democratic majority.
    It is also very interesting to note that this proposition was pushed through by giving it a phony name of “The Safe Neighborhood and Schools Act”. Unwitting citizens voted for it due to its name -which happened to be named by none other than Kamala Harris when she was attorney general in California-
    (Yes, they should have read the proposition before voting)

    So in my mind, and in the minds of a growing number of citizens, the Democrats own a lot of this crime wave. Add to what I mentioned above the rhetoric from so many Democrats for no bail and no jail and defund the police just add it to the problem.

    It’s clear that Democrats are running from it now and trying to disavow it.

  5. God help us if we devolve into anti-democratic minority rule, but that is at the heart of the struggle; power for power’s sake or a nation of laws decided with the principle of one person one vote.

  6. Our votes have consequences. To name just a few examples, Californians approved prop 47, votes in Gavin Newsom who made it easier for felons to be released from prison, elected a DA here in CC county that focused on “racial equity” versus prosecuting crimes and then we are stunned by the change in our communities? I hope suffering through this sense of lawlessness will make voters pay closer attention in upcoming elections.

  7. Jan – – Just about every issue is heavily politicised these days as the country tries to figure out who it is and where we want to go. People are turning school board meetings and Costcos into battlegrounds and screaming at one another in an attempt to be heard and maybe get on Youtube. I take the point of your letter and agree with much of it believing that the people responsible for these recent thefts need to do some jail time. I also feel its time we all calmed down a bit and stopped trying to destroy those with an opposing view. Too many people are attempting to score points over who purchased what cooking pan or spent the yearly wage for a California family on a single handbag. Few minds are being changed – maybe we can find some common ground in agreeing that those who steel and rob us need to be punished.

  8. Are you serious?

    What’s moving forward the conservative position?

    Everything you do to try and hide this. So now we should not cover what really happens because it would advance the conservative position, instead lets lie about it, cover it up and hide it, not report on it and just live in a hell hole………….NO SIR this completely broken thought process of yours will just advance the conservatives more as they will easily be able to call out your disgusting suggested behavior. Honestly when I read your letter it makes me wonder if I shouldn’t have voted for Donald Trump instead, you are literally driving us moderates who actually possess a thing called common sense away and in the end this mentality is exactly what will give control to the right and conservatives so good job pal.

    • You may have read this letter but it is pretty clear you did not grasp the author’s position – which is pretty common these days. My take was that the author is calling for more vigorous prosectution of retail crime using tools currently available for prosecutors – e.g. “And then I would urge a public show of support for business owners, police and local prosecutors so they might bring their considerable power to bear in the prosecution of retail thieves.” I believe the worry he has is that the right will try to use the current number of increased thefts to elevate public fear in an attempt to bring down office holders the right does not care for. That’s my impression at least and it is a tactic that has been used in the past.

      • It seemed to be more about fear mongering, fears of advancing the conservative position, conservative rhetoric on this site with an overall idea that they should write news 24 680 about their reporting of these crimes as somehow being negative. It’s fantastical and crazy.

        This idea that conservatives are blaming liberal politics. Well guess what, in this case they are 100% right. The safe schools and neighbors acts making many crimes misdemeanors including thefts of firearms was pushed by liberal who out right deceived they moronic majority that voted for it because it sounded good and made them feel nice to say “safe neighborhoods and schools act”. I believe the right and the conservatives are 100% right about democratic policies on crime. They now care more about protecting criminals than keeping public non criminals just living ordinary lives safe.

        Trying to write some letter to the editor that is charged in like 6 ways focusing on politics with zero proof or discussion of specific policies and who enacted them, how to fix them is silly. Maybe stop trying to obfuscate the truth and deflect blame and we can get the general public from both sides to vote for some more common sense legislation that actually stops criminals instead of encourages them.

        I have read about 4 situations and seen videos where the news goes to do a story on retail theft and actually catches people robbing the place. News crews have been attacked, robbed and now killed recently. This problem is not new, this problem is not unknown to governor Newsom or any other politician in California. If you want to change and don’t support crime then lay blame where it’s due and help work towards solutions instead of trying to discuss conservatives vs. liberals. If you want the horrendous job done by this state government and justice system on crime not to be a “talking point” for conservatives, then stop voting in and making excuses for those responsible. Until then, good luck because they are correct in their thinking even if you don’t like them because they are conservative or right.

  9. I’m trying to visualize what the store of the future is going to look like? The shopping mall? Will we still have them? Armed guards with rifles slung like many places in Europe? More barriers, wire, anti theft measures like quick close doors and bullet proof glass?

  10. Any honest citizen is in favor of abiding by the law, but “law and order” is tied to conservative justice. Is she trying to convince us that Democrats are the party of “law and order?” She’s in denial, and denial is the first step of any problem. Once you get past denial (soft on crime — Prop 47, AB109, Newsom, etc.) maybe you’ll make wiser voting decisions. Our votes have consequences, and a lot of us have a clear conscience.

    A progressive friend of mine voted for Kevin Kiley in the recall. He’s “owning” his voting record, and he’s “done” with his “irresponsible” choices. We’re all entitled to our views, but enough is enough for California. Tighten the ship, or it falls in the Pacific Ocean.

  11. Research is showing Prop 47 is likely irrelevant in terms of these organized attacks, but that won’t sit well with the know it all crowd. Read the excellent coverage on this topic that was in another local paper.

    This is a complex issue that the know it all crowd want to resolve with one liners. Life doesn’t work that way.

    • Can you show us this research, my street level research in So. Central LA and North Richmond says more criminals equals more crime. 108RS

      • Read the East Bay Times. The research is mentioned there and linked.I trust PPIC over your “street” research.

      • New York Post: “New York City famously re-established order in the 1990s based on “broken windows” policing, or a focus on offenses that degraded the quality of life; San Francisco and similar locales are engaged in “broken windows” neglect — the broken windows being at high-end stores struck by emboldened robbers.”

        • The problem with your genius notion of “law and order” that supposedly works is that NYPD’s methods of harassing, brutalizing, and yes, degrading neighborhoods of color is that it was found to be UNLAWFUL and abandoned as a failure except by the cops who live for that brutal engagement.

          • Are there ocassional, illegal police activities? Sure. Prosecute them.

            Giuliani & Co’s policies saved thousands of lives, which also means they saved thousands of lives of POC by dramatically lowering the murder and violent crime rates. … then rates spike back up when these policies are abandoned.

            Many also give credit to the Clinton Admjnistration for funding the locking up of violent career criminals.

  12. Jeffr,
    Cutting off the hands of suspected burglars is “effective” by your standard, but I view it, and the court views it as unlawful.

    • david,

      I believe in appropriate jail or prison sentences for the nature of the crime, sentences that are served, that is all.


      • You present yourself on this site as a headbanger, as someone who considers himself above the rules, above the law. If that is accurate it is quite ironic that you believe that you are “effective” law enforcement. Not only do unlawful acts by police evade accountability in your world, you don’t see the larger context of what happens when law enforcement brutalizes and dehumanizes communities of color in a country that still lives with its history of slavery, slavery based on skin color. Your world is perpetuated. Your role in it is forever justified.

        • While I believe such occurrences aren’t common, when it happens, it also can be inflicted on European Americans. I witnessed a handcuffed white shoplifter brutalized by undercover security in my youth, reported it to management, and then a district wide supervisor, and from what I could tell, nothing ever happened.

  13. “Giuliani & Co’s policies saved thousands of lives”
    Your hero is a cartoon, and his buddy and business associate, Kerik, is a convicted felon, now Trump pardonee. There is no “Giuliani & Co” as he can no longer practice law. He can’t get a gig on Fox. He is a former Fox cartoon.

    • New York Murders per year

      1959 – 390
      1970 – 1,117
      1980 – 1,814
      1990 – 2,245
      1995 – 1,177
      2000 – 673
      2013 – 332
      2018 – 289
      2020 – 462

      Source: Wikipedia

  14. The lowest number you cite, 289 in 2018, is well after stop and frisk was ruled unconstitutional…These numbers confirm that the murder rate remains down from the historical average after the 2013 ruling.

    • Recent dramatic increase. “Experts” site many reasons for the dramatic reduction – crack epidemic ended, career criminals locked up, and even a reduction in lead paint (complex, fascinating analysis).

      • Another police / DA error in the Nordstrom looting according to the I Team.

        One of the ‘alleged’ criminals (Dana Dawson) – the woman with the Glock pistol – was on parole, but our officials dropped the ball – TWICE.

        They originally didn’t know she was on parole, so they released her. Then today (?) she was in court, but officials were allegedly 15 minutes late getting a court order, so she wasn’t remanded to.prison.

        How does “the system” lose someone on parole?!

        1. Did personnel in Martinez not check the database (software)?
        2. Or are officials burying some other ‘oversight’ in a word salad?

        For the record, many of the people dropping the ball here make $100,000 or more per year. Plus generous pensions.


  15. The Criminal Justice System (including all law enforcement agencies) is an example of a failed Socialist Institution. The National attention on the local incidents has exposed the incompetence of every agency and office involved. Politicizing it just shows how ignorant you are. Blaming just the the DA and ignoring the missteps law enforcement agencies have made automatically discredits you from any serious conversation. The reality is that the entire system is milking the taxpayers with very little accountability for results.

  16. Oh, pray tell, is SS a reference to warriors in defense of a different kind of socialism, perhaps National Socialism? Or is SS just serendipitous?

  17. It will play out with CCC electing a ‘tough on crime DA’ due to the social media misinformation machine blaming liberal policies/DAs for every crime committed in the state. The new DA will have a grand plan to combat crime that will require significantly more money. Inevitably, the results won’t justify the increased investment and other public institutions like schools will suffer the consequences.

    Not saying the DA or existing laws are good or bad, just that none of the three local justice subsystems( police, courts, corrections) seem to be very good at their jobs judging by how all three of them have made inexcusable blunders regarding the recent smash and grab crimes. In the corporate world, we don’t give more money to people who aren’t good at their job, so I’m not in favor of giving more local tax dollars to the justice system until I see positive results.

    • I disagree with Jeff, the Walnut Creek Mayor, City Council, Police Chief and top brass dropped the ball. Horrendous. We all knew the high-profile Rittenhouse case, social media bias and narrative in play. It was all primed.

      Now we learn more specifics, Nordstrom workers assaulted, stabbed, threatened. All foreseeable. We’re fortunate no one died like last time.

      • Mark,

        Yes, this was forseeable, just like when the Chuvin penalty is reduced, was in another Minn case, there will be riots. But what to do about it??? Can’t field 500 WCPD, turns out only 1 reserve was on that night, they usually have 6 (covid issue). A DA that will prosecute every crime would send a message. And, my godson, a San Mateo Deputy, says all cops in the Bay Area are fearful of the DA’s and I have heard this from WCPD officers.


        • Many steps should have been taken, primed by the original Walnut Creek riots / looting / shooting:

          1. More police staffing the first week, especially the first weekend. Approve overtime.

          2. Deploy Contra Costa / other sheriff’s. Call in surrounding mutual aide, if needed. (I’m not the expert, but I’d have a minimum of 6-12 officers deployed to Broadway Plaza, and another 6 downtown.) Deploy volunteer officers where appropriate. All hands on deck.

          3. Announce publicly that all illegal activities will be dealt with swiftly. (See #1 + #2.) Police Chief press conference.

          4. After the first Broadway riots, looting, and shooting, cameras should have been expanded on freeway exit points and Broadway Plaza.

          5. Monitor social media with appropriate Federal agencies (FBI?), gang task forces, etc. Establish undercover online presence.

          6. Don’t let convicted felons on probation waltz out of detention. This is unfathomable!

          A $100,000 – $200,000 in potential added costs is significantly cheaper than where we now sit.

  18. Inexcusable that there was only one officer in downtown WC on a Saturday night. COVID is just another lame excuse, and an example of how law enforcements ridiculous anti vax/mask political grandstanding has made the community less safe.

    You do realize that there has to be an arrest before someone can be prosecuted right? I would love to know the local arrest rate for potential felonies. My guess is that it’s probably the same as the smash and grab at around 3%. Not good

    • There were several officers in downtown WC that evening, three were tied up on the arrest. There was also one reserve working. Could WCPD have done better, maybe, but not for sure. 108RS

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