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Report: More Ex-Cons on Streets Mean More Auto Thefts

Alameda seems less affected by a statewide increase in property crimes than many other communities.

Patch file photo
Patch file photo

By Alex Gronke

Researchers have found “robust evidence” suggesting that property crime in California increased because thousands of prisoners who had been locked in state prisons transferred to the laxer custody of county officials in a process known as realignment.

Looking at statewide crime data from the California Department of Justice, the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) found that property crimes were 7 to 12 percent higher in 2012 because an estimated 18,000 convicted criminals who would have otherwise been behind bars were free. With a 14.8 percent increase between 2011 and 2012, motor vehicle thefts saw the biggest spike.

Alameda appears to be something of an an exception to the trend. According to FBI statistics, while motor vehicle thefts increased from 260 in 2011 to 260 thefts in 2012, property crimes remained almost flat.

Overall, property crimes reported in Alameda dropped slightly from 1,898 in 2011 to 1,892 in 2012.

In order to abide by a federal mandate to ease overcrowding in the state prison system, the State Legislature passed a law in 2011 that sent more parolees and non-violent criminals to county custody. Known as realignment, the legislation has reduced the state’s incarceration by 9 percent. The study found that realignment has had no effect on violent crime rates.

The rise in property crime did not hit all parts of the state equally. Alameda County had an increase of 17.1 percent in property crime during the time studied in the report. Contra Costa had an increase of 10 percent in the same period.

The first wave of prisoners transferred during realignment were usually guilty of non-violent and non-sexual crimes. But 8,000 inmates above the 110,000 limit mandated by federal order remain in California prisons. The report concludes that were these more serious criminals allowed to go free, the rise in property crime would be even larger.

Read the full report from the PPIC here.


Read about realignment here
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Anabella Maria Fontini Della Rossa La Bellissima December 16, 2013 at 02:36 PM
Hopefully Alameda's police department will routinely search all the homes of the parolees that live in Alameda. Make it uncomfortable for them to live in our beautiful island paradise.

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