Marie Waldron, State Assemblymember –According to a recent report from the FBI, 2020 had the highest rate of violent crime in California since 2007, including a 31% increase in homicides. Public safety should be our top priority, but we’ve been moving in the wrong direction.
In California, 28% of homicides last year were gang-related, and seven-percent were the result of domestic violence. Murders in San Diego County increased by nearly 29% and aggravated assaults increased by more than 600 cases. Escondido, Oceanside, Carlsbad, and San Diego were among cities that saw increases in violent crime last year. Minority communities suffered the most as Hispanics accounted for 45% of homicide victims, and African Americans, 31%.
The source of this increase in violence across California is varied and complex. Job loss and mental stress caused by shutdowns and stay-at-home orders were likely big contributing factors. Mass de-incarceration thanks to reclassification of crimes previously considered felonies, combined with efforts to defund the police also likely played a large role.
We need to ensure the police, criminal justice system, and social service providers have all the resources and training they need to protect public safety for all Californians!
We must also address the underlying causes of crime. My bill, AB 653, aims to do so by creating a Medication-Assisted Treatment grant program so that incarcerated persons receive the treatment needed to break the cycle of drug abuse, ultimately leading to less crime. AB 653 passed the Assembly unanimously, and is now pending in the Senate.
California’s rising tide of violence must be reversed! Public safety is government’s primary responsibility.
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