To the editor: Criminologist Peter Moskos asserts that it's too soon to say whether Prop. 47 was behind the citywide increase in property crimes this year. (“After 12-year decline, crime in L.A. surges,” July 9) Furthermore, Moskos states that “if there is huge money saved in incarceration, I think we can take an increase in property crimes.”Apparently Moskos has not had the pleasure of coming home to find that his front door has been kicked in, that there's a giant hole in the wall where the TV used to be, and that irreplaceable family heirlooms like grandmother's wedding ring have been stolen.
Carl Pfirman, Los Angeles
To the editor: Mayor Eric Garcetti cited the passing of Prop.47 as one of the factors behind this year's surge in crime. This may be true, but until proven, such claims from city officials are irresponsible deflections.
Homelessness has grown. Numerous reports have shown that L.A. is no longer affordable for the majority of residents as the gap between the rich and the poor has grown.
But it's the recent, common-sense, criminal justice reform legislation that is responsible for the uptick in crime?
Blaming the surge in crime on an already heavily stigmatized group — the formerly incarcerated — could slow efforts for further criminal justice reform. It also distracts from what the city has not done to address the root causes of crime.
It's laudable that Garcetti increased funding for the Gang Reduction & Youth Development program. Now is the time to support, increase and develop programs that alleviate poverty, create jobs, and rehabilitate the formerly incarcerated.
Lila Kalaf, Santa Monica
To the editor: Why is it that when crime decreases, the police and administration attribute it to their actions, while when it increases it is because of factors beyond their control?
Darrel Miller, Santa Monica
To the editor: It should be no secret to Garcetti or Police Chief Charlie Beck or to the public why serious crime has taken a dramatic leap upward this year.
And no, despite public tirades by a few, it is not due to illegal immigration by the tens of thousands.
It is primarily due to two factors: The overwhelming public approval last year of Prop. 47, which reduces many prior crimes regarded as felonies to misdemeanors. And body cameras to monitor everything police officers do and say in their cars and outside on the street.
What police officers will initiate “instinctual” or proactive work on their own, thereby greatly increasing the odds of being suspended, indicted, sued, when Big Brother is looking over their shoulder? Just answer the radio calls, depart the scene as soon as possible and wave at the public. Nothing else.
Alan V. Weinberg, Woodland Hills
To the editor: One of criminal reformer Sir Robert Peel's principles of policing is that “the police are the public and the public are the police.” That has yet to be fully implemented in most cities, including Los Angeles. Perhaps it's worth a try. Clearly massive redeployments and more weight given the criminal justice hammer isn't working. It never has.
Stephen Downing, Long Beach