When California’s Proposition 47 was introduced in 2014, it was intended to change specific low-level crimes from potential felonies to misdemeanors, while savings from reduced incarceration costs were to be invested into drug and mental health treatment programs for at-risk students in K-12 schools, and victim services. The proposition was once hailed as the progressive solution to address overcrowded prisons and reduce non-violent offenses but ultimately, it came with consequences that ravaged San Francisco and the state of California.
The aftermath of Proposition 47 has been swift and severe. The threshold for felony theft rose to $950, resulting in a significant increase in theft and property crimes throughout San Francisco. Criminals exploited this legal loophole, understanding that they could steal with impunity if the value of their stolen goods remained below the designated threshold.
The statistics spoke volumes. In the years following the implementation of Proposition 47, crime rates soared across the city. Theft from vehicles and stores skyrocketed, leaving retailers and residents feeling helpless. Police departments struggled to respond effectively to rampant theft. The sheer volume of incidents overwhelmed law enforcement, forcing them to prioritize more serious offenses while petty theft went largely unaddressed and unreported.
San Francisco, once known for its vibrant communities and thriving businesses, is facing a steady decline. Small businesses, already burdened by high operating costs, are suffering crippling losses as shoplifting has become the norm. Many store owners were left with no choice but to close their doors, unable to sustain the financial strain brought on by both the pandemic and incessant theft. The streets that once buzzed with life are now dotted with empty storefronts and disheartened business owners.
The consequences aren’t limited to San Francisco alone. Proposition 47 had a statewide impact, with crime rates surging across California. Cities throughout the state struggled to combat the rise in property crimes and their subsequent effects on local economies. The legislation inadvertently created an environment where criminal activity flourished, and law-abiding citizens suffered the consequences.
As a San Francisco native and small business owner, I urge our state leaders to consider the overturn of Proposition 47.
Written by: Hans Hansson
Hans Hansson is the President of Starboard Commercial Real Estate. Hans has been an active broker for over 35 years in the San Francisco Bay Area and specializes in office leasing and investments. If you have any questions or comments please email [email protected] or call him at (415) 765-6897.