Imagine a world where crimes like child abuse and armed robbery are like a simple slap on the wrist. With Proposition 47 now a state law, that is California’s new reality.

Titled “Criminal Sentences. Misdemeanor Penalties. Initiative Statute.,” Proposition 47 reduces the penalty for certain crimes from felonies to misdemeanors. It was enacted in hopes of increasing public safety as resources tied to minor misconducts would be freed up, allowing more resources to be allocated towards more dangerous crimes as well as to cut incarceration spending.

The first thing to note when evaluating Proposition 47 is that inmates by the thousands would be eligible for early release. This means that people who have committed a wide range of crimes from armed robbery to child abuse would walk free from prison.

For many of the crimes covered under Proposition 47, criminals are entitled to a misdemeanor sentence instead of a felony sentence as long as the damage falls under $950. This can encourage firearm theft as multiple guns can typically be purchased at that price—people would take advantage of the reduced penalties to steal firearms for other crimes. California has long had one of the strictest gun control policies in the United States; treating firearm thefts lightly threatens the thin fabric that is the state’s public safety.

Furthermore, violent crimes have become more rampant since Proposition 47 was passed in November 2014.

In the first six months of 2015, overall crime in Los Angeles rose by 12.7 percent, with noteworthy increases in violent and property crimes.

“We had 10 years of crime reductions, we were at 50-year lows in many areas on crime statistics, and all of a sudden, right after November when 47 kicked in that changed and fairly dramatically, very quickly,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell told the Associated Press in July. “It would be naïve to say that 47 didn’t play a major role in that.”

The post-Proposition 47 crime boost is not native to Los Angeles—even in Riverside County, offenders are taking advantage and “pushing the limits of the new law,” according to Riverside County Sheriff Stan Sniff. With felonies now treated as misdemeanors, people are feeling more compelled to commit crimes that fall under the law’s protection.

“For these crimes and others—thanks to Prop. 47—the price is steep for the public, while slight for the perpetrators,” Sniff said.

While the impact Proposition 47 has on gun violence is extremely important, its effect on other crimes such as abuse and rape must not be overlooked. Among the inmates who are qualified for resentencing and early release are criminals who have committed arson, date rape and assault, among other crimes.

Although there are exceptions when offenders of the crimes covered under Proposition 47 will not receive its benefits due to their criminal history or the severity of their crimes, it still gives them a lot of leeway and encourages illegal behavior.

“Prop. 47 coddles sexual predators, increases the prospects of addicts continuing their addictions and committing crimes to feed their habits, eliminates current gun-theft deterrents and puts an enormous burden on small business by going easy on petty theft and fraud,” wrote Santa Ana’s former Chief of Police Paul Walters in a Facebook post.

“It will burden our criminal justice system by overcrowding jails with dangerous felons who should be in a state prison,” Walters added, “and it will jam courts with hearing requests from inmates seeking to obtain ‘Get out of prison free’ cards.”

Money is unsurprisingly one of the main driving forces behind the widespread acceptance of Proposition 47. It inarguably saves the state hundreds of millions of dollars in costs and resources that could be used to tackle more severe crimes, fund other programs and for crime prevention.

However, when social costs clash with economic costs, like in the case of Proposition 47, one should choose the lesser of two evils. Even though the crimes protected under the state law do not result in the loss of human lives, they can have psychological impacts on victims that can haunt them for the rest of their lives. Taking care of the people and ensuring their safety should always be a government’s first priority and a government should strive to achieve it no matter the financial cost.

“Prop. 47 is a frightening fraud with irrevocable and far-reaching repercussions,” wrote Alameda County district attorney Nancy O’Malley on SFGate. O’Malley also described the measure as a “Trojan horse.”

By mitigating the consequences of unlawful behavior and actions, the government is sending its people the wrong message. While Proposition 47 was introduced with good intentions, people are interpreting it as a green light to transgress, which ultimately places California’s people and their public safety in jeopardy.

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