The cornerstone of the criminal justice system in California is to punish wrongdoings in the hope that it will deter a person from committing further crimes. This works out nicely most of the time, but it also leads to overcrowding in jails and prisons. In an attempt to help reduce the overcrowding issue, the state has made changes in the law. One specific change is Prop 47, which, according to NBC Los Angeles, reduces shoplifting to a misdemeanor if the value of the stolen items is less than $950.
With a misdemeanor, the penalties are fairly light, usually just a fine and no jail time. In addition, law enforcement often does not focus on these petty theft crimes because they are already stretched thin and need to focus on more serious crimes.
While Prop 47 may help reduce overcrowding the jails, it is doing nothing to help lower the amount of shoplifting occurring. In fact, store owners say shoplifting is increasing because there is very little chance of any consequences.
While larger businesses are not usually affected by shoplifting as they consider it a part of doing business, small businesses face devastating results of the increase in the crime. A small business owner cannot handle the amount of shoplifting occurring as the losses are becoming too big.
Eventually, people see they can get away with the crime, so they start becoming bolder and stealing more. They may not even realize they go over the $950 limit. This leads to more serious crimes as well. It is very possible for Prop 47 to lead to an out of control environment. This information is for education and is not legal advice.