Crime is a constant presence in our community, impacting us on a daily basis. From theft and drug-related offenses to hit-and-run incidents, it is crucial that we remain watchful in order to ensure the safety of our community.
Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp and Washoe County District Attorney Chris Hicks spoke at a criminal justice reform town hall held at the Elks Lodge #597 in Reno on Thursday night.
Keystone Corporation, a statewide political action committee that recruits and supports pro-business candidates, hosted the town hall.
According to Smittcamp and Hicks, they are cautioning that Nevada is increasingly resembling California in terms of criminal justice reform.
According to Smittcamp, the impact of this issue extends beyond public safety. It is also having negative consequences on the economy, tourism, and education, leading to a decline in the overall quality of life.
Keystone supports businesses and recognizes the detrimental effects of rampant retail crime in California.
“According to Bett Sutton, Director of Keynote Corporation, these individuals persist in their actions, leading to the eventual closure of businesses or the necessity to increase prices for customers.”
In 2015, California implemented Proposition 47, a law that downgraded drug possession and theft crimes to misdemeanors. Smittcamp argues that this law fosters a culture of non-accountability, especially among repeat offenders.
According to Smittcamp, California has gained notoriety for its mob-style robberies and theft crimes. He points out that there are individuals in California who have been arrested a staggering 95 times for misdemeanor offenses. They intentionally keep the value of their crimes below $950, thus evading more severe consequences. As prosecutors, there is limited power to address this issue and prevent repeat offenses.
In 2020, the Nevada Legislature made a significant move in criminal justice reform by passing a groundbreaking legislation. This law raised the theft threshold for stolen goods from $650 to $1,200.
“We have made some mistakes in California that we have actually surpassed, and I believe it is crucial for people to be aware of them in order to make well-informed choices,” shared Chris Hicks, the District Attorney of Washoe County.
During the town hall meeting, there were discussions on various topics, including the reduction of drug laws and bail laws.
We reached out to progressive Democrats in Nevada to gather their insights on the state’s criminal justice reform. In our upcoming story, we will present their perspective as we delve deeper into this important topic.