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Despite $25B in Funding, California Cops Only Solve 13% of Crimes

The statewide clearance rate for crimes was just 13.2 percent in 2022, according to a new report. The rate for poverty crimes was only 7.2 percent.

Despite receiving billions of dollars in funding — including more than $25 billion in 2022 — California police are solving few crimes.

That’s the finding of a new report from the Center on Juvenile & Criminal Justice, a nonprofit dedicated to researching and advocating for criminal justice reform.

The report, which can be read here, shows that the statewide overall “clearance rate” — crimes resulting in an arrest being made — was 13.2 percent in 2022. The clearance rate for property crimes was even lower, at 7.2 percent, while violent crimes were cleared by law enforcement 41 percent of the time, according to the report.

An interactive map accompanying the report shows that in Sacramento County, the clearance rate was even more dismal — just 10 percent overall, with 32 percent for violent crimes and a mere 5 percent for property crimes.

The report author, Mike Males, said in a press conference Tuesday that he launched his study in order to counter the “raft of misinformation” out there about crime in California.

While crime has spiked in recent years, according to the Public Policy Institute of California, it remains at a historic low.

Males added that he hoped his report demonstrates that despite the passage of criminal justice reforms like Proposition 47, California is not “defunding the police” or “soft on crime.”

“Many of the things you’re seeing in the national media and sometimes local, they’re myths,” he said.

A pair of California lawmakers also spoke at Tuesday’s press conference — Assemblywoman Mia Bonta, D- Oakland, whose husband Rob Bonta is California Attorney General, and Assemblyman Isaac Bryan, D- Los Angeles.

Mia Bonta said that California cannot incarcerate it’s way out of its current problems.

“We’ve tried that model for years and it didn’t work,” she said.

Bryan said that Californians are seeing “several realities” happening at the same time — a rash of petty thefts and property crimes but also crime overall being down.

As for police, Bryan said “they’re not preventing crime, they’re not solving crime.”

But did this report tell the whole story?

Brian Marvel of the Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC), a pro-law enforcement organization, said in an email statement to The Bee that at first glance, “the report seems to be missing some important context when it comes to crime clearance rates.”

He said that it misses that the number of sworn police officers in the state is “well below” 1990s levels, and that Californian attitudes toward police have soured in recent years.

Marvel said that all those issues “have a massive impact” on police’s ability to deter or solve crimes.

“The report seems to employ a bit of willful tunnel vision, ignoring key factors that impact crime clearance rates to tell the story they want to tell,” he said.

Marvel added that “it takes a bit of cognitive dissonance to stand up and cry foul over crime clearance rates when (Mia Bonta’s) own constituency — Oakland — can’t keep enough officers on the streets to keep their people safe.”

He referenced the fact that Newsom had to deploy 120 California Highway Patrolofficers to the region to assist with policing.

“Is she calling for increased funding for Oakland police to get enough full-time sworn officers on the streets to make up for the city’s neglectful policies? If law enforcement budgets are up as the report alleges, and they have all the resources they need, why does Oakland only have 700 officers?” Marvel said.

This article is part of The Sacramento Bee's A.M. Alert. ©2024 The Sacramento Bee. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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