CA Sheriff Blasts Crime Legislation Over Addiction, Homeless Rates

Photo by Jared Erondu on Unsplash

( – Close to a decade ago, California’s electorate approved the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act, but Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco is claiming that the voters had been misled.

Bianco, during an interview with Fox News, claimed that the legislation that is often praised for helping create safer neighborhoods and schools, is also in part to blame for the high addiction and homeless rates in the state. According to Bianco, when they ceased the enforcement of drug-related laws, they started seeing a big increase in the “severe mental health problems” of people without homes of their own.

He further added that a significant portion of California’s homeless population had been suffering from severe drug addiction and that many of the people on the street were unpredictable and potentially dangerous. He claimed that oftentimes “they’re uncontrollable” and that oftentimes people don’t know how to act around them.

Bianco claims that the problem is due to Proposition 47, which was voted for close to a decade ago. He argues that the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act, Prop 47 altered how crime was handled. Now the charges for stealing items under $950 and drug possession have been downgraded from felonies to misdemeanors. This move reportedly helped reduce the prison population in California by more than 13,000 inmates. The money that has been saved on prison costs has been allocated to other programs such as mental health services and treatment for substance abuse.

Bianco however, argues that the people were lied to regarding this program and the extent to which it could help make streets safer and that under the current program, people with drug addictions just get fines without ever being made to go to rehab.

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