In January 2018, the City of Downey City Council unanimously voted to become a member of “Taking Back Our Community,” a coalition of local cities dedicated to educating the public and improving law enforcement’s ability to address the unintended consequences and public safety threats occurring due to new legislation, including Assembly Bill 109, and Propositions 47 and 57.
To raise public awareness of why crime is increasing in our state.
Voters Passed New Laws
With misleading names like the “Safe Cities and Schools Act” (Proposition 47) and the “Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act” (Proposition 57), many voters believed passing the new laws would decrease crime and increase safety in their communities. However, it is now apparent that these recent changes in law limit the Downey Police Department’s – and other cities’ – ability to respond to crimes within the community.
For example, prior to Proposition 57, multiple crimes against multiple victims would be treated as multiple criminal incidents. Those crimes are now treated the same as a single crime against a single victim for purposes of releasing a prisoner back into the community on parole. Repeat offenders are also eligible for release after the same period of incarceration as first-time offenders.
Proposition 47 has reduced certain felonies like drug possession for personal use (including cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, and methamphetamines), theft of a firearm, and thefts under $950 to misdemeanors.
Proposition 57 increased the number of prisoners who now qualify for early release, back into our community, because their criminal offenses are now redefined from violent felonies to non-violent felonies for purposes of parole. Ironically, some of the redefined violent offenses include the term “violence” in the title of the crime. A few of the crimes that are now considered non-violent include:
• Domestic violence P.C. 273.5
• Assault with a deadly weapon on law enforcement P.C. 245 (c)
• Human trafficking of a minor P.C. 236.1(c)
• Rape of an unconscious person PC 261(a)(3)&(4)
• Solicitation to commit murder P.C. 653f (b)
Hiring more police will not solve the problem. The laws to keep criminals in jail or prison are no longer in place, and the only solution is to change the laws. In the coming months, the City will need your help to advocate for changes in the law to address these deficiencies. If you vote, educate yourself. Research ballot initiatives before voting. Only voters can make changes to the criminal justice system to ensure that violent and career criminals are kept off our streets. Encourage others to learn more about Taking Back Our Community by sharing this website.
Write a letter to your state legislators asking for change. Using these sample letters below --- just type in date at the top, your Name and Address at the bottom, Print, Sign and Mail to your state legislators asking for change to AB 109, Prop 47 and Prop 57.
The coalition publishes the "Taking Back Our Community" newsletter with information on legislation, crime statistics and effects throughout the State: