Editorial: L.A.’s smash-and-grab robberies are not caused by criminal justice reform

Flash mob robberies of the type which have been once more hitting Los Angeles space retailers hurt way over the shop house owners who lose a whole bunch of 1000’s of {dollars} in items. They hurt greater than the consumers and the staff current through the heists who had been put in worry of violence from the swarms of rampaging hooded criminals.

These crimes degrade the standard of all our lives — by casting a cloud of hesitancy, then discomfort, then dread over procuring areas and public areas. Folks start to suppose twice earlier than getting into a mall or a retailer. The following step is to remain away solely and depart previously public locations to solely those that are prepared to take their probabilities and people who haven’t any alternative.

Observers who would dismiss the issue as minor or argue that police haven’t any correct function in coping with it are off-base. Any free society wants regulation enforcement businesses which can be sufficiently trendy, well-equipped and nimble to answer criminals who’re always in search of new methods to steal.

Investigators will be anticipated to observe social media platforms and the darkish net, maintain their ears to the bottom and watch shadier resale markets the place stolen items are hawked at a reduction. They maintain in shut contact with their counterparts in different jurisdictions. They know, even when the remainder of us typically overlook, that flash mob-style assaults usually are not a current or uniquely California phenomenon, having hit Chicago, Houston, Jacksonville, Fla. and different cities and suburbs across the U.S. in waves for greater than a decade.

The thieves be taught from one another. So, little question, do police.

The Los Angeles Police Division is reportedly rising patrols as a response to current flash mob robberies, and that conceivably might shore up consumers’ confidence. However police ways that had been the norm a long time in the past — and that also may make for good TV or maintain the general public creativeness — usually are not the important thing to ending the present wave of robberies.

For instance, we ought to be relieved, not disenchanted, that police didn’t arrive to confront the thieves contained in the Nordstrom retailer on the Westfield Topanga mall in Canoga Park on Saturday, the Yves Saint Laurent outlet on the Americana at Model in Glendale 5 days earlier than, the Nike retailer in East Los Angeles on Monday or the Ksubi retailer on La Brea on Tuesday, and that in consequence there have been no shootouts or hostages. If unable to move off the assaults — a tough job — efficient regulation enforcement follows up on the again finish with tireless work to establish the perpetrators and planners, and the receivers and sellers of stolen property and convey them to justice.

There’s a harmful delusion that as a society now we have misplaced the desire or the power to try this. On the contrary, there’s a cause that these sorts of theft schemes (some homegrown and others masterminded in international international locations) are available in waves, with important respites in between. The perpetrators are caught. And punished. The smash-and-grab robberies that struck California through the 2021 vacation season ended with arrests, convictions and imprisonment.

Extra harmful nonetheless is the utter nonsense — maybe born of frustration, deep ignorance or political malice — that some regulation enforcement leaders and elected officers proceed to spout concerning the supposed underlying causes for these crimes. They declare these robberies are the results of felony justice reform. All that lenience. All these liberals. Proposition 47, which diminished some low-level property crimes from felonies to misdemeanors. $0 bail. Decriminalization.

Ridiculous. These robberies are organized retail thefts and felony conspiracies, a few of them aggravated assaults and all of them felonies. The worth of products stolen is properly above the misdemeanor threshold. Proposition 47 has nothing to do with them. That poll measure set the dividing line between grand theft (a felony) and petty theft (a misdemeanor) at $950. Most different states’ limits for felonies are increased, from $1,000 to as excessive as $2,500. That makes California one of many nation’s hardest states on property crimes, however absurd and dishonest claims on the contrary.

Neither is there any proof of anybody arrested for a smash-and-grab being launched with out bail and repeatedly committing the identical crimes. Nor has California “decriminalized” any crime apart from marijuana possession. Nor have police on this state been “defunded.” Nor have prosecutors been blocked or discouraged from prosecuting smash-and-grab robbers.

Californians, to their credit score, are a savvy bunch who’ve repeatedly rejected falsehoods about felony justice reform thrown at them by some fact-challenged prosecutors, candidates and regulation enforcement leaders.

However the nonsense and the fear-mongering from leaders maintain coming, and it’s in its personal method as corrosive to a free and open society as brazen retail thefts. Californians ought to be capable to anticipate their police and elected officers to inform them the reality, and display that they’ve an correct notion of the crimes they’re charged with stopping and fixing.