Sign of the Crimes

There is a crime wave in California. This is a story of one sign of the crimes.

There are two main reasons for this.  First, California Proposition 47. Approved by voters in 2014, a key provision was:

   SEC. 8. Section 490.2 is added to the Penal Code, to read:

   490.2. (a) Notwithstanding Section 487 or any other provision of law defining grand theft, obtaining any property by theft where the value of the money, labor, real or personal property taken does not exceed nine hundred fifty dollars ($950) shall be considered petty theft and shall be punished as a misdemeanor, except that such person may instead be punished pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 if that person has one or more prior convictions for an offense specified in clause (iv) of subparagraph (C) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (e) of Section 667 or for an offense requiring registration pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 290.

(b) This section shall not be applicable to any theft that may be charged as an infraction pursuant to any other provision of law. [emphasis added]

Second, the current crop of District Attorneys does not take crime seriously.  No bail or very low bail, reduction of prison sentences (often below the term specified by the guidelines), and restrictions on activities of prosecutors have significantly reduced the cost of crime. We’ve written about this before in the context of crime statistics.

Stanford University is about halfway down the peninsula between San Francisco and San Jose.  The Stanford Shopping Center is on the northeast corner of what was once Leland Stanford’s farm.  It is home to upscale retailers (Neiman Marcus), boutique shops, an Apple store (of course) and three jewelry stores.  Recently the mall has been hit by a crime wave.  Here are a few examples.

Suspect Robs Women at Gunpoint at Stanford Shopping Center

Palo Alto: Suspect at large after man shot in hand and foot at Stanford Shopping Center

We had occasion to visit the Apple store February 11.  While waiting through the inevitable Genius Bar delays, we took a stroll down the main concourse.  We noticed this.

Louis Vuitton Sign of the Crimes

(click for larger image)

The Louis Vuitton store has gone full concierge.  You cannot get into the store without an escort. The people queued up are waiting.

Other stores have taken a different approach.  Shreve and Company (high-end jewelers) have a security guard at the door and a crowd-control type tape across the door.  No admittance without permission. Security was very visibly present everywhere.

In other words, the private sector is filling in where the public sector has failed.  Sadly, this will drive up costs and prices for the tenants of the mall.  Will your taxes go down because there’s less work for law enforcement? The only possible answer is, “How long have you lived in California?”


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