Last week California Attorney General Rob Bonta released state crime data for 2021. In a statement to the press, Bonta noted that violent and property crime rates “remain significantly below their historical highs,” then admitted that homicides increased 7% last year. This follows a 31% increase in homicides from 2019 to 2021. The largest single-year increase in state history.
Taking the Attorney General at his word that “Good data is a cornerstone of good public policy,” the latest Crime in California report strongly suggests that current policies are taking the state in the wrong direction.
The report shows that the number of homicides is the highest it has been since 2007. There were 1,000 more reported rapes than last year and aggravated assaults are the highest since 2004. Eleven thousand more vehicles were stolen last year than in 2020, and vehicle thefts have increased every year since 2008. These are not good numbers.
In his press release Bonta inadvertently provides a reason for these increases. “The total arrest rate decreased 7.3% from 2,812.3 in 2020 to 2,606.3 in 2021, continuing an ongoing year-to-year downward trend that began in 2004 when the total arrest rate was 5,385.5. In 2021, the total number of adults on active probation reached its lowest level since 1980 at 151,414.” Why would California’s chief law enforcement officer highlight the fact that while violent crime and auto thefts are skyrocketing, arrests and state supervision of criminals are declining, unless he believed this was good news?
Of course, Attorney General Bonta is not solely responsible for the current crime wave sweeping across California. Major changes in state law enacted over the last decade, characterized as “criminal justice reforms” by progressives, have encouraged today’s lawlessness. As a state Assemblyman, Bonta voted for some of these laws. As Attorney General he aggressively supports them. The history is outlined in a California Globe article published this morning.
California is the most diverse state in the country and politically, it has been decidedly liberal/progressive for decades. But crime is an issue that historically has brought Californians together. This is evidenced by the rejection of ballot measures to abolish the death penalty and, more recently the recall of progressive District Attorney Chesa Boudin by 60% of San Francisco voters.
Attorney General Rob Bonta shares Chesa Boudin’s beliefs on crime and law enforcement and he appears to be completely out of touch with what’s happening in the world where most Californians live.