A California sheriff has criticized politicians for giving in to what he called a “far-left agenda” fueling rising crime in parts of the Golden State.
“We are in a complete state of dysfunction,” Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco told Fox News. “The far left is 100% anti-cop, anti-sheriff, anti-public safety, pro-criminal. They are 100% pro-criminal.”
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Bianco said politicians had been interfering with public safety in California for about a decade, beginning with the Assembly’s Bill 109, which shifted responsibility for some inmates and probation officers from state agencies to county jails and probation officers.
Then in 2014 voters approved Prop 47, which turned crimes like stealing goods under $950 and possession of drugs from felonies into misdemeanors. It reduced the prison population in California by more than 13,000 inmates.
Two years later, Prop 57 allowed inmates to reduce their sentences through good behavior.
“There is no political will in this state to deal with crime,” Bianco said.
Riverside County stretches more than 7,000 square miles — larger than the state of Connecticut — southeast of Los Angeles.
“All we see on TV is increased violent crime and vehicle takeovers and thefts,” Bianco said. “People are afraid to go out of their homes. They are afraid to let their children go to the park. They are afraid to let their children walk to school.”
Crime increased in California following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic — violent crime increased approximately 5.6% statewide from 2020-2021, and property crime increased approximately 2% over the same period. But both numbers remained well below historical levels observed during the gang wars of the early 1990s, data from the California Department of Justice shows.
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In Riverside County, both violent crime and property crime continued to decline during the pandemic, falling 0.6% and 5.1%, respectively, from 2020-2021.
Statewide numbers for 2022 aren’t available yet, but the number of incidents the Riverside Police Department responded to over the past year has reportedly decreased slightly compared to 2021 a city database.
Bianco described the majority of Democrats in California politics as good people who want to make a difference, but said the state government is “run by an extreme left-wing agenda” based on emotion, not facts.
“You have the majority of Democrats, Democratic lawmakers who just don’t want to buck the system,” he said. “They don’t want to stand up to these lunatics who run our state.”
California lawmakers in recent years have voted to limit gang-related sentence extensions, allow prostitution-related loitering, and automatic conviction and arrest records for most offenders who have not been convicted of another crime within four years to seal.
A proposed law would prevent police from using K-9s for arrests or crowd control.
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“There’s no bill that gets through the Public Safety Committee if it adds a penalty or penalty,” Bianco said. “If the criminal is held accountable by time in jail or time in jail, the Public Safety Committee will not allow this bill to even go to a vote.”
Bianco said law enforcement and law-abiding Californians have “zero help” from their lawmakers.
“They are part of the problem, if not the whole problem,” he said.
Ramiro Vargas contributed to the accompanying video.
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