Kenneth Schrupp, Center Square, October 26, 2023
California state Democrats unveiled a new Select Committee on Retail Theft and a new proposal to end a major loophole limiting auto burglary convictions as part of their toughening stance on rising crime.
Under current law, prosecutors must prove a vehicle was locked to convict a suspect of auto burglary, and a window being broken is not sufficient evidence. New proposed legislation from state Sen. Scott Wiener, D–San Francisco, would end that requirement and allow forcible entry to be sufficient evidence for a conviction.
Common situations in which prosecution is unable to secure a conviction include when someone broke a car window, completed a theft, and left the door open or unlocked, if a victim returns to the car and opens the door before police can take a report to establish the car was locked, if the victim forgets whether they locked their doors, or if the victim is not available to testify in court that their doors were locked.
Republican leaders welcomed the proposed changes as well, including San Francisco Republican Party Chair John Dennis, who told The Center Square his garage has been broken into three times in the past year.
“After years of gaslighting Californians that crime wasn’t a problem, Democrat lawmakers are facing a backlash and now they’ve got to start getting the law and order muscles back in shape,” Dennis said. “These are positive measures.