San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon told the Victor Valley Chamber of Commerce last week that violent crime is up more than 20 percent in the High Desert so far this year.
Though most in the area probably figured crime was on the rise, we're not sure anyone could have been prepared to learn it had increased so much.
But the High Desert isn't alone. McMahon said crime is up all over the state and the nation. It's easy to understand why, at least here in California and the High Desert.
Thanks to Assembly Bill 109, which reduced our state prison population, criminals who should be spending more time in prison are now back on the streets picking up where they left off.
Propositions 47 and 57 just added to the problem. Prop 47, referred to by some as "catch and release," reduced several crimes from felonies to misdemeanors. So even when law enforcement officers catch some of these crooks, often they are out of jail and back on the streets within the week, sometimes within a day. Sometimes all they get are citations!
Meanwhile, we have more people in the state than ever before, so it shouldn't be surprising that we have more criminals too. But because Gov. Jerry Brown and the legislature have no desire to build more prisons, there isn't enough capacity to incarcerate all those who belong in the clink.
Talk about a situation where the bad guys and gals are winning the war, this appears to be it.
We need more prisons to house the criminals who should be locked up. We need more officers on the street to catch them. We need more District Attorneys to prosecute them. And we need new ballot measures crafted to overturn Props 47 and 57 and make the punishment fit the crime.
It won't be easy to accomplish all of this, but unless we want the good people of California to live in fear or be forced to take extreme measures to keep the criminals out of their homes and off the properties, we probably don't have a choice.
The system is only working for the crooks now, certainly not for the law-abiding citizens of the High Desert or the state.
It's time for California to get tough on crime again, build some new prisons and then lock up these criminals for a very long time. Anything less will be a waste of time.