Something strange is going on with crime in Los Angeles.

The Public Policy Institute of California says property crimes were up sharply in L.A. County last year, but arrests and bookings for property crimes fell 31 percent.


In 2014, voters passed Proposition 47, which reduced some felony theft and drug offenses to misdemeanors.

Police have “no motivation” to arrest thieves and burglars, because “nothing is being done to these people,” explained Marc Debbaudt, immediate past president of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys. He said “there are no consequences” for those who commit property crimes.

So property crimes are up, and arrests for property crimes are down.

Voters may or may not have fully understood what Proposition 47 would do. It appeared on the ballot with the title, the “Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act.”

Meanwhile, the political pendulum continues to swing away from tougher sentencing. The 1994 crime bill that Bill Clinton signed is now a political liability for his wife’s presidential campaign. And a 1977 sentencing law signed by then-Gov. Jerry Brown could be undone by the same governor this fall. Brown is pressing for an initiative that would ease tough sentencing with several reforms, like giving parole boards more discretion to enable early release.

It may be true that too many people are incarcerated for non-violent drug offenses. But giving a free pass to thieves was the wrong solution to that problem.