In a revealing incident that highlights the unintended consequences of California’s criminal justice reforms, Governor Gavin Newsom recounted a personal experience that puts the spotlight on the state’s ongoing struggle with shoplifting and retail crime. During an unexpected visit to a Target store, Governor Newsom was confronted with the direct impact of the policies he has championed, leading to a candid exchange that underscores the complexities of reform and its real-world implications.
The governor’s story began innocuously enough, with him observing an act of shoplifting while preparing for a Zoom call on mental health reforms. However, the situation quickly took a turn when he inquired about the apparent inaction of store employees in the face of theft. The clerk’s response was startling: she blamed the governor himself for the proliferation of such crimes, citing legislative changes that have made it less risky for individuals to commit theft.
At the heart of the matter is Proposition 47, a ballot measure passed in 2014 that Governor Newsom supported. This legislation significantly reduced the penalties for thefts under $950, downgrading them from felonies to misdemeanors. While intended to alleviate the burden on California’s overcrowded prison system and to recalibrate the criminal justice system towards rehabilitation, the measure has also led to an increase in shoplifting incidents, with criminals exploiting the revised legal thresholds.
This incident at Target reveals the broader challenges facing California as it grapples with the consequences of its progressive policies. The state’s approach to criminal justice reform, including the support for progressive prosecutors like George Gascón, who prioritize rehabilitation over punishment for minor offenses, has drawn criticism for emboldening petty criminals and contributing to a sense of lawlessness in urban centers.
In a Zoom call about a mental health proposition, Gov. Gavin Newsom says he was at a Target and saw someone walk out without paying.
He asked a worker why the person steals and they blamed the Governor before looking at him twice and recognizing him.
“I was like, why I am… pic.twitter.com/zpLFtNwiSZ
— Gabriel Lorenzo Greschler (@ggreschler) January 31, 2024
San Francisco, where Newsom once served as mayor, exemplifies the dilemma. The city has seen an exodus of retailers frustrated by rampant theft and the difficulties in securing convictions for shoplifting under the new legal framework. Major chains have either shuttered their stores or resorted to locking up everyday items to deter thieves, signaling a crisis that extends beyond the criminal justice system to affect the economic vitality and public safety of communities.
Governor Newsom’s encounter at Target serves as a poignant reminder of the aftermath of the governor’s far-left policies.