Safe Communities Plan: Halting California’s Crime Crisis
I am running to free California to live again, free of the daily fear of crime. The clearest sign that a government is failing is that it can’t protect its people.
Gavin Newsom has overseen the largest spike in violent crime in at least 13 years. Four of California’s biggest cities – Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, and San Francisco – saw a ~30% increase in homicides and ~20% increase in both motor vehicle theft and commercial burglaries in 2020. California currently has the 14th highest violent crime rate in the nation and the 19th lowest incarceration rate (25% lower than the national average).
What has Newsom done in the face of rising crime and below average incarceration rates? Made it possible for up to 76,000 prisoners – including violent and repeat felons – to shorten their sentences by a third. He’s also closing two prisons – one this September and another next June – at a time when our prisons and county jails don’t have enough room. Newsom is changing how the criminal justice system works, putting more power in the hands of district attorneys at the expense of the existing criminal justice system (police, judges, juries).
In addition, under policies fully embraced by Newsom, state prison rolls have been cut by more than 30,000 since the early 2000s. A new 34-state study from the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics predicts that ~75% of these former convicts will have been arrested for something else within 5 years after their releases. If you think crime is bad now, just wait until these former convicts have a chance to commit another crime.
Safe Communities Step 1: Stop Early Prisoner Releases
I will stop the early release of up to 76,000 criminals (some of whom are violent offenders) that is currently underway.
Safe Communities Step 2: Stop Expunging Criminal Records
I will veto AB 145 and SB 145, which allow the Attorney General to erase criminals’ records dating back to the 1970s.
Safe Communities Step 3: Stop the Resentencing “Reform”
Newsom is currently attempting “resentencing reform” to place more power in the hands of the state’s Justice Department to seek and to empower District Attorneys, such as Gascón and Boudin, to seek “resentencing” of those they believe have been punished too harshly. The law is the law – these DAs should follow it. Every individual accused or convicted of a crime deserves to be treated equally under the law.
Safe Communities Step 4: Audit and Reform Corrections Spending
Our prison population has decreased by 49,000 people (almost 1/3) since 2006. Yet, Newsom is spending more on the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation than we have in the history of California ($12B/year). A full audit is imperative.
Safe Communities Step 5: Enforce our laws
This shouldn’t need to be said, but Newsom has shown that it does. I will enforce our laws to the fullest extent possible, so criminals know that their actions have consequences and law enforcement know their actions are making a difference.
Safe Communities Step 6: Fully Support and Fund Our Law Enforcement
I support our law enforcement officers – unlike Newsom, who said we need to “reimagine law enforcement” – and will work with them on any criminal justice reform initiatives. Research shows us that each additional officer reduces crime by 1.3 violent crimes and 4.2 property crimes per year, producing savings for communities greater than $300,000 per year, much more than the annual cost of an additional officer.
Today, our communities are facing severe shortages of police – openings have increased by over 6 times since 2010. Unless we change leadership, this will get worse. In the last year, we have seen an increase of 45% in the officer retirement rate.
My Experience with Crime
I know firsthand what it is like to be a victim of violent crime. My experience 15 years ago made me resolve that no one would experience what I experienced :
Asian hate crimes, and any other hate crimes, are wrong. California is a welcoming state, and as Governor I will set the culture of welcome. I will quickly and clearly condemn hate crimes. I describe more details in the following video: