A report released last week by the FBI, documenting crime statistics in larger U. S. cities over 2012, provides more evidence that crime in California is increasing under Governor Jerry Brown’s Realignment law (AB109) according to the California-based Criminal Justice Legal Foundation. The Foundation, which has been monitoring crime across the state since Realignment took effect in October 2011, cites data showing that while nationally both property crime and violent crime either increased slightly or decreased, in California all categories of crime increased, some at several times the national rate.
While these statistics only document the first full year under the new law, which reduced the sentences and shifted responsibility for tens of thousands of habitual felons from the state to California counties, they indicate sharp increases in most crimes after decades of steady reductions.
"Between 1993 and 2011, violent crime dropped every year but 2006, when it increased by 1.2%. Last year violent crime in California went up 2.9%, more than twice the rate of the rest of the country. Murders in California increased by 10.5%, while the nation as a whole saw a 1.5% rise," said Foundation President Michael Rushford.
The Foundation also cites FBI statistics showing that, while rapes were down nationally, they increased by 6.4% in California. Property crimes also dropped nationally in 2012, but increased in California by 9.7%. The disparity in auto theft was even more dramatic. California saw a 15% increase, while the national rate increased by 1.3%.
Supporters of Realignment initially promised that crime would not increase under the new law, and later characterized local reports of rising crime in many parts of the state as "alarmist" and "fear mongering." The Foundation suggests that this second FBI report, showing increased crime in California, bears out the concerns expressed by numerous police chiefs, sheriffs, and prosecutors that Realignment would jeopardize public safety.
"For decades the state legislature ignored its responsibility to upgrade our aging prisons and address overcrowding. This continued until two years ago when the courts finally ordered California to deal with the problem," said Rushford. "The solution the Governor and the Legislature came up with was to dump tens of thousands of habitual criminals into the state’s cash-strapped counties and leave them there until they commit rape or murder. Is anybody really surprised that this would result in increased crime?"
The FBI’s report is available at:
CJLF’s analysis, The California Crime Spike, is available at: