After String of Robberies, Newsom Tells Local Leaders to “Step Up” and Hold Criminals Accountable

For several years, prosecutors and local law enforcement leaders have warned that recent criminal justice reform laws have created an environment ripe for lawbreaking. For months, businesses have bemoaned a rise in thefts in large cities like San Francisco, only to be told crime isn’t really that bad. Suddenly, the skeptics are coming around.

Amid a string of organized robberies in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Walnut Creek, Union Square, Hayward and elsewhere, Gov. Gavin Newsom says CHP will step up patrols around commercial shopping districts. Newsom also made it clear that he has “no sympathy, no empathy whatsoever” for the perpetrators of the organized smash-and-grabs. His own PlumpJack winery has been targeted by thieves at least four times in the past year.

Then Newsom seemed to point the finger at local governments, telling mayors to “step up” and make sure the criminals are held accountable.

"I’m not the mayor of California. But I was a mayor. And I know when things like this happen, mayors have to step up," Newsom said. “That’s not an indictment. That’s not a cheap shot."

Newsom’s not the mayor, but he is the governor. And as governor, he has supported policies that deprioritize property crimes and expand early release over the objections of many mayors. So have the lead prosecutors of some of the state’s largest counties, including Los Angeles’ George Gascón and San Francisco’s Chesa Boudin.

Nevertheless, both Gascón and Boudin said this week they too have no tolerance for the criminals wreaking havoc on their streets.

"Let me be clear. I am doing everything in my power to keep San Francisco safe and to make sure that people who come to our city to commit crimes are held accountable. This is not a one person job. It's not a problem that's limited to San Francisco," said Boudin.

Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert, who is running for Attorney General, used the recent chaos as an opportunity to go after her opponent Rob Bonta on Tuesday.

“Let’s be real,” tweeted Schubert, who opposed Props 47 and 57 – two measures she blames for the rise in crime. “@RobBonta championed the policies that are failing all of us-rampant theft, brazen robberies, and utter chaos. When @chesaboudin and @GeorgeGascon talk tough but refuse to hold these people accountable, will @RobBonta step in? California deserves better.”

Read more about the rash of organized robberies at the Los Angeles Times at USA Today.


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