Crime Wave Through 90035

Black and latino criminals are becoming more aggressive in 90035. Why?

Benny Forer wrote Oct. 27, 2014:

I am a Deputy District Attorney in Los Angeles County. I specialize in prosecuting Cyber Crime, including identity theft and credit card fraud.

Deceptively called “The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act,” Prop 47 is anything but good for the community and the neighborhood. Over the past few years, my community has seen an increase in “petty” crime. If this law passes, I fully predict an exponential increase starting in 2015.

The following are several points regarding the shortsightedness of this Proposition:

– Redefines the term burglary. (Burglary is a specific term, and because of its complexities, I’m not explaining it here). By redefining Burglary, it reclassifies crime, which would appear as a non-crime, or low level crime – allowing politicians to claim crime was reduced; but in reality, society will be harmed.

– Redefines identity theft and check fraud. Until now, law enforcement had the option of charging a misdemeanor or a felony for these crimes. This ability allowed us to take prior criminal history into account in order to properly protect the public (e.g., someone has a prior history of robbery and kidnapping that now commits identity theft. Usually, this is a person we want to get off the streets more than a first time offender). Importantly, judges also have the ability to turn these felonies into misdemeanors, keeping prosecutorial zealousness in check. This law will remove the filter and the ability of those in criminal justice to regulate bad social actions.

– The law removes the ability to charge ID theft and Fraud as felonies unless they hit a specific monetary value. The problem with that is we get cases with individuals in possession of large amounts of personal information who haven’t yet sold or used the info. I’ve had cases where defendants had thousands of identities, and we were unable to track down many of the victims. Or, where victims live in other parts of the country/world and it is too costly to fly them in to testify about for 5 minutes. Now, those in possession of a large amount of data and/or the manufacturers and/or those that recently skimmed the data, etc, will ALL get minimal to no punishment. This law makes it the cost of doing business.

– Possession with intent to use an access card/credit card will no longer be a felony, unless we can prove a particular loss amount. Consequently, if we stop a skimming operation, where someone puts a skimming device on a bank machine, will result in no punishment. In order to have the ability to control this conduct, we will have to wait for the person to steal your money.

– Theft of a gun, or a car, or anything else will require us to prove loss value. So, if a gun was reported stolen in another part of the country and we catch the guy, if we can’t prove the gun was worth $950, the case will be a misdemeanor. (Or, if we can’t get the witness in, or the person doesn’t know its value, etc).

– This law pretends that its purpose is to alleviate prison-overcrowding by presenting a compassionate method toward prosecution – rehabilitation. It claims that the prisons are full of drug offenders and that this is needed to prevent DA’s and Judges from sending users to prison.

Here is a reality check: NO ONE in CA goes to prison for a first time drug offense. PC 1000 provides a mandatory drug program (over mine or the judge’s objection – we don’t object in actuality) for any drug possession. I.e., I cannot send someone to prison for a 1st time drug offense.

Prop36-the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act of 2000-prohibits sending a drug user to prison on a second conviction. It requires us to provide a drug treatment program. Penal Code section 1210 requires a treatment program for a third conviction!!! After that, you get judicial discretion (to give another chance) or drug court (which can put a defendant into a more secure and serious program).

Suffice to say, that NO drug offender on a first, second, or third conviction, goes to prison. So, the prop is misleading and a lie.

Backers of this prop? 1 DA in the State (San Francisco…was that a surprise?) and 1 former chief of SD police. Also, backers include the state Democratic Party and Jay Z (ya know, cause he’s so aware of crime related stuff). Over 11 million was raised to support this….I wonder why.

This isn’t compassion. Every DA needs to be aware of compassion. This is pity (aka misplaced sympathy). When decriminalizing crime causes a greater harm to those we seek to protect, the law will be a failure.

Proposition 47 passed. State bill AB 109 also increases crime. “Realignment AB 109 transfers responsibility for supervising certain kinds of felony offenders and state prison parolees from state prisons and state parole agents to county jails and probation officers. Realignment came about in early 2011 through enactment of California Assembly Bill 109.”

How come Culver City and Beverly Hills don’t have the homeless problems of Los Angeles? You can thank the ACLU’s 2006 victory over the City of Los Angeles:

LOS ANGELES — The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a historic decision today in a case filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and the National Lawyers Guild seeking an end to the criminalization of people who sleep on the streets when no shelter is available.

The decision in the case, Jones v. City of Los Angeles, marks the first time in a decade that a court has struck down an ordinance that criminalizes the lack of shelter.

“Anyone who cares about homelessness and finding positive solutions to this serious issue in our community will be delighted and encouraged by this decision,” said Ramona Ripston, Executive Director of the ACLU of Southern California. “The ACLU has always maintained that police should target serious crime like rape and drug trafficking and not criminalize people for sleeping on the street when there is nowhere else to go.”

Writing for the majority, Judge Kim M. Wardlaw ordered the District Court to stop enforcement of a Los Angeles city code that allows police to arrest people for sleeping on the street when there are no available shelter beds. Judge Wardlaw’s opinion cited news articles about the issue from The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, including a recent front-page series on homelessness on Skid Row by columnist Steve Lopez.

“The Eighth Amendment prohibits the City from punishing involuntary sitting, lying, or sleeping on public sidewalks that is an unavoidable consequence of being human and homeless without shelter in the City of Los Angeles,” Judge Wardlaw wrote.

ACLU of Southern California Legal Director Mark Rosenbaum, who argued the case in December, called the decision “brave.”

“This decision is the most significant judicial opinion involving homelessness in the history of the nation,” Rosenbaum said. “The decision means in Los Angeles it is no longer a crime to be homeless. The homeless in our community, twenty percent of whom are veterans and nearly a quarter of whom are children, can no longer be treated as criminals because of involuntary acts like sleeping and sitting where there are not available shelter beds to take them off the mean streets of the city. My hope is that the city will now treat homelessness as a social problem affecting all of us, not as a crime.”

I suspect that if Los Angeles had groups of concerned citizens beating up the homeless and telling them not to come back to Los Angeles if they knew what was good for them, Los Angeles would have fewer homeless.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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