A California sheriff has blamed the relaxation of state drug and theft rules for a dramatic rise in homelessness and addiction.
Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco said that as soon as the state ‘stopped enforcing’ the law it started ‘seeing a major, major, major increase’ in mental health conditions among the homeless.
California has been ravaged by scenes of lawlessness in recent years, while vagrant camps now lie sprawling across its major cities.
Bianco said rising drug addiction had made the homeless population ‘uncontrollable’ and blamed Proposition 47, a law passed by voters almost ten years ago.
Also known as the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act, it downgraded crimes like drug possession and theft of goods under $950 from felonies to misdemeanors.
Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco said that as soon as the state ‘stopped enforcing drug rules and laws’ it started ‘seeing a major, major, major increase’ in mental health conditions among the homeless
California’s drug mortality rate jumped by more than 35 per cent between 2014 and 2019, before spiraling out of control during the pandemic, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data
Rows of tents line the streets in Los Angeles, one of the many Californian cities that have struggled with a sharp rise in homelessness
It reduced California’s prison population by more than 13,000, with more than half the money saved diverted to mental health services and drug rehabilitation programs.
But Bianco said it has also sparked a rise in drug deaths and crime.
‘It was astonishing that people did not do the research of what they were voting for, and they trusted the government to be honest to them when they said it was safe schools and safe streets, because everybody’s for that,’ he told Fox News. ‘But we were lied to.’
Here, DailyMail.com examines the breakdown of law and order in the Golden State.
Although California’s drug mortality rate still ranks lower than most, it jumped by more than 35 per cent between 2014 and 2019, before spiraling out of control during the pandemic, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.
The state has also been gripped by the fentanyl crisis. In Los Angeles County, deaths from the opioid increased more than tenfold between 2016 and 2021. Between 2019 and 2020, they increased 149 percent from 462 to 1,149, and were up 31 percent in 2021 to 1,504.
Research from the Center for Court Innovation suggests Proposition 47 has not been as effective as hoped in diverting people to rehab programs.
Two thirds of drug courts reported a drop in caseloads since the law was introduced, but many who continue to pass through their domain refuse to enroll in diversion programs.
Bianco said that the inability to push addicts into rehab had led to a ‘drastic increase’ in mental health issues and drug-related crime.
Olympic silver medalist Kim Glass posted a startling video showing the aftermath of a brutal attack she suffered on the streets of LA at the hands of a homeless person
In 2011, Glass appeared in Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue.
Glass won a silver medal as part of Team USA women’s volleyball team at the 2008 Beijing Olympics
One shocking example of this came in July last year when an Olympic volleyball player was brutally attacked by a homeless drug addict wielding a metal pole.
Kim Glass, 37, posted a horrific video of her injuries after she was attacked randomly in LA.
Glass told how she had been leaving lunch and saying goodbye to her friends before the horrific attack.
She said the ‘homeless man ran-up, he had something in his hand and he was on the other side of a car on the street’.
She continued: ‘Before I knew it, a big metal bolt, like a pipe, hit me… it happened so fast. He literally flung it from the street.’
Glass later said she was okay after having stitches but there would be no permanent damage to her vision.
A month later, a video emerged of a homeless man beating and robbing an elderly man who had been enjoying a meal from Raffallo’s Pizza in LA.
LA, like the rest of California, is struggling to come to grips with its homelessness problem.
Between 2010 and 2020, the state saw a 31 per cent rise in homelessness while the rest of the country experienced a drop of 18 per cent.
Earlier this month, shocking photos emerged showing ‘rapidly growing’ vagrant encampments springing up near the county’s exclusive Beverly Hills neighborhood.
Clusters of tents filled Beverly Grove, near the Santa Monica Boulevard, which marks the beginning of the Hills area, where the median house price is $3.5million.
Images revealed tarpaulins, shopping carts, mattresses and loose bedding sprawled along San Vicente Blvd, near the upscale Beverly Center shopping mall where celebrities including Victoria Beckham, Paris Hilton and Hailey Bieber have all been known to shop.
An estimated 40,000 people are homeless in the city of L, which has a population of nearly 4 million people.
In January, the affluent Sherman Oaks neighborhood, just north of Beverly Hills made national headlines after three people died on its streets in just one week.
A homeless man sits on a public bench in Beverly Grove, near Beverly Hills on April 11, 2023
Homeless encampments are becoming increasingly common near Beverly Hills, one of LA’s most affluent neighborhoods
Pictured is a homeless encampment near Beverly Hills on April 11, 2023
According to Beverly Hills City Manager, Nancy Hunt-Coffey, the amount of homelessness in the area is increasing. Pictured: tents in nearby Beverly Grove
Despite being home to the world’s tech billionaires, San Francisco is also in the gs of a homelessness epidemic.
The numbers of those living on the streets hit 8,000 last year, figures show, the second highest since 2005, topped only by 2019 when the pandemic was at its height.
Devastating images taken last summer showed rows of tents lined up outside businesses, with the homeless sitting outside people’s front doors openly smoking illegal drugs and passing out on the asphalt in the middle of the day.
Small businesses attempting to recover from the pandemic have hit out at city officials for failing to tackle the problem, which they say is harming revenues.
The Castro Merchants Association said some of the homeless people in the streets outside their stores had been harassing customers and needed help.
‘They need shelter and/or services and they need them immediately,’ it wrote in a letter to local lawmakers.
‘Our community is struggling to recover from lost business revenue, from burglaries and never-ending vandalism/graffiti (often committed by unhoused persons) and we implore you to take action.’
Danielle Shannon Robles, a homeless woman who sleeps in a tent, is seen near the City Hall of San Francisco in California, United States on August 29, 2022
Homeless people are seen near the City Hall of San Francisco in California, United States on August 29, 2022
Rows of homeless tents are seen near the City Hall of San Francisco outside residential properties and small business premises
Crime remains stubbornly high in the Golden Gate City, with overall crime up 7.8 percent
California has the highest income tax rate in the nation at 13.3 percent, with San Francisco among the most expensive cities to live in.
Yet despite the high taxes, the city has been slow in combating vagrancy and helping business owners in its downtown area, with about 50 percent of small businesses in San Francisco remaining closed last year, according to Forbes.
According to the latest available FBI Unified Crime Report, San Francisco had the highest overall crime rate of the 20 largest cities in the United States, recording 6,917 crimes per 100,000 population in 2019.
That was more than double the crime rates in New York and Los Angeles, and well above the rates in the next largest US cities: Chicago, Houston, and Phoenix.
Downgrading thefts of goods under $950 from felonies to misdemeanors has sparked a free-for-all in some cases.
In December, startling footage showed thieves brazenly ransacking an Apple store in Palo Alto, ripping iPhones, iPads, and laptops from their displays.
Startled customers asked employees if they should do anything to stop it, but the employees told them not to intervene, and even guided some customers out of the way.
Two thieves made off with about $35,000 worth of merchandise, according to the New York Post.
They could be seen in the video lurching around the Apple store, tearing devices from display tables, ripping them loose from their security cables, and stuffing them into bags.
No arrests have been made, but cops said they believe the suspects to be in their teens or early twenties
In the video, two thieves could be seen lurching around the Apple store, haphazardly tearing devices from the display tables, ripping them loose from their security cables, and stuffing them into bags
The thieves weaved through customers, shoving some out of the way, as Apple employees stood by, guiding customers out of the criminals’ way.
‘Yo, should we stop ’em, or what?’ one customer asked as a thief stuffed phones into his bags mere feet away.
‘Let him go!’ an Apple employee responded, throwing his hands up in the air as the thief scurried by.
The same store was robbed twice in a single 24-hour period in 2018, with thieves grabbing more than $100,000 in goods.
And in 2016, criminals drove a car through the front window of the store and took off with thousands of dollars in products.
There are signs Californians are beginning to lose patience with their elected officials.
San Franciscans voted to recall District Attorney Chesa Boudin over his perceived refusal to prosecute certain crimes.
He was originally elected on a platform of criminal justice reform, but his progressive policies were widely blamed for rising crime and homelessness in the Bay Area since the start of the pandemic.
He has since been replaced by Brooke Jenkins, 40, who vowed to crack down on soaring crime and increasingly prevalent open-air drug markets in the city.
Chesa Boudin (left) was ousted from his position as District Attorney in June, after critics accused him of not doing enough to keep residents and business owners safe amid a crime wave. Brooke Jenkins (right) has since taken over and fired 15 members of Boudin’s team
Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon has been widely criticized for his progressive policies, which some say has heightened crime
Meanwhile, an attempt to recall progressive Los Angeles DA George Gascon failed to gather enough signatures to trigger a vote, but reflected growing discontent with the movement that propelled Gascon to office.
Critics have blasted his policies, in particular his prohibition of minors being charged as adults and elimination of enhancements that could add time to a convict’s sentence.
The progressive prosecutor – who was elected in 2020 – has been vocal about the need to reform the criminal justice system to focus more on intervention and rehabilitation, blasting ‘tough-on-crime’ policies as racist and a failure.
Even the county’s Deputy DA, Shea Sanna, launched a blistering attack on Gascon for encouraging criminals to ‘commit more crimes.’
Sanna claimed the 68-year-old DA is a ‘criminal’s champ’ and neglects the need for ‘public safety’ and residents’ feelings with his woke policies.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk