I witnessed a crime at the corner of Anapamu and Anacapa streets in Santa Barbara, and you were the victim.
The crime was both observed, and dare I say, countenanced during a meeting of the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors.
In case you haven’t noticed, the number of shootings, stabbings and murders, not to mention rampant thefts, have become routine fare throughout the county, with a special preponderance in the crime-ridden communities of Lompoc and Santa Maria.
County District Attorney Joyce Dudley, who has announced her retirement subsequent to our county supervisors toying with the “defund the police movement,” informed the board members that Santa Barbara County has 3,000 outstanding warrants! Read that again!
Except for violent felons and a few other “nonviolent” felons, too many criminals, upon arrest, receive either a measly citation, are diverted from the justice system, or are booked and released on zero bail. Subsequently, they are not showing up for their court hearings. They have lost all respect — read that fear — of our legal system.
The Probation Department reported that the number of juveniles on probation is 185, down from 403 in 2019-20. Accordingly, the department will close the Las Prietos Boys camp, an institution that has proven successful in helping hard-core gang members turn their life around. Why this decrease when crime rates are rising?
Too many of these juvenile delinquents are being diverted into failed counseling regimens, as are many adult criminals. The Probation Department is expecting 2,000 adult probationers this year, down from 3,598 in 2019-20. Moreover, California has limited the amount of time a convicted criminal can be on probation, from five years to two years for so-called nonviolent felonies.
Meanwhile, the state of California is emptying prisons and closing our state juvenile detention facilities that held hard-core criminals and is returning these people to local jails and juvenile halls.
Do recall that voters were duped to lower many felonies to misdemeanors and a lot of misdemeanors to infractions via Propositions 47 (“The Release the Shoplifters Act!”) and 57 (“The Violence, What Violence Act?”). Whereas retail theft is now a daily occurrence for most businesses as a result of Proposition 47, a slew of crimes deemed “nonviolent” felonies both before and after the fact by Prop. 57, enabled a slew of truly violent criminals to be eligible for early release from our state prisons.
How many of you would agree the following crimes (penal code titles courtesy Marc Klass) should be considered “nonviolent”? Lewd or Lascivious Act on Child Age 14 or 15 Where the Perpetrator is at Least 10 Years Older; Contacting a Minor With Intent to Commit to a Specified Offense Such as Kidnaping, Sexual Assault Physical Abuse, or Distribution of Obscene Matter; Arranging a Meeting With a Minor For Lewd Purposes, Where the Defendant Has a Prior Conviction for an Offense Requiring Registration as a Sex Offender Or, Arranging a Meeting With a Minor for Lewd Purposes and Actually Going to the Meeting Place at the Arranged Time; Rape of a Person Incapable of Giving Legal Consent; Rape By an Intoxicating, Anesthetic or Controlled Substance; Rape of an Unconscious Person; Assault by Means of Force Likely to Produce Great Bodily Injury; Assault with a Deadly Weapon; Taking a Hostage; Any Felony in Which a Defendant Personally Uses a Dangerous or Deadly Weapon, or Personally Uses a Firearm, or Personally Inflicts Great Bodily Injury; Hit and Run Resulting in Death or Permanent, Serious Injury; Domestic Violence Resulting in a Traumatic Condition; Supplying, Selling, or Giving a Firearm to a Person to Commit a Gang Crime, and the Person Commits the Gang Crime and Is Convicted of It; Human Trafficking.
As our county supervisors would say, “Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.”
Andy Caldwell is the COLAB executive director and host of “The Andy Caldwell Show,” airing 3 to 5 p.m. weekdays on KZSB AM 1290, the News-Press radio station.