A shoplifters’ holiday in Dallas?

“Most controversially, [Dallas County District Attorney John] Creuzot also plans to decline prosecuting anyone caught stealing $750 or less worth of necessary personal items, like baby formula, diapers or food.” [Stephen Young, Dallas Observer]

16 Comments

  • Newly-elected Suffolk County (MA) prosecutor Rachael Rollins has a similar no-prosecute agenda, though she did not publicize it until *after* she had won a plurality in the all-important Democratic primary last September. Suffolk County includes the City of Boston (pop. ca 685,000, the relatively small core of metro Boston, pop. ca 4.6 million) and three small inner suburbs.

    A couple of days ago, a career criminal expressed outrage at being arrested for shoplifting in nearby Weymouth (Norfolk County, MA). Before his release from prison on a previous offense, he had heard DA Rollins’s encouraging words on TV, and thought they applied statewide.

    https://www.bostonherald.com/2019/05/16/shoplifter-finds-suffolk-da-rachael-rollins-no-prosecute-list-doesnt-work-everywhere/

    As a libertarian fellow-traveler, I have called for decades to end prosecution for victimless offenses. Finally people like me seemed to get a hearing, only to find progressives leapfrogging us to free real criminals.

  • Really stinks for small business owners. Walmart may be able to absorb the costs of legalized shoplifting, but the corner bodega? Yeesh.

  • What a nitwit.

    “The reforms, Creuzot said, are meant to make Dallas a safer, more equitable city, not to enable those who commit low-level offenses, as critics of the new policies have accused Creuzot of doing. ”

    “What we are focusing on is not on processing cases, it’s on reducing recidivism and reducing cost and we’re doing so based on data and research,” Creuzot told the committee. “What we intend to do is to make a safer city.”

    Like too many nowadays, Creuzot mistakes his INTENT with the policy for what it will ACTUALLY do in the real world.

    He intends to somehow make Dallas a “safer” city by allowing criminals to steal? So what happens when the decent citizen shop owners are tired of being robbed into the poor house? The results of that certainly won’t be “safe”.

  • Rather than decriminalizing shoplifting, Rollins’ policy is to require prosecutors to get the go ahead from a superior before they prosecute. As Rollins says (see interview in link at bottom), someone who has no criminal history who steals diapers is very likely deserving of mercy. Repeat offenders not so much — and they will be prosecuted.

    The idea is to shift scarce law enforcement resources from penny ante to violent crimes. As Rollins says, Boston’s conviction rate for attempted murder is truly abysmal — which surely affects public safety more than first-time shoplifting.

    I don’t know about the policy in Dallas, but the one in Boston is being misrepresented in the media.

    https://podcasts.google.com/?feed=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuY291cnRpbm5vdmF0aW9uLm9yZy9Qb2RjYXN0cy9mYi1jY2lfcG9kY2FzdC54bWw%3D&episode=aHR0cHM6Ly9uZXd0aGlua2luZy5ibHVicnJ5Lm5ldC8%2FcD0yNjc%3Dprosecuted.

    • As Rollins says, Boston’s conviction rate for attempted murder is truly abysmal — which surely affects public safety more than first-time shoplifting.

      On the other hand, murder cases require very different levels of time and effort from detectives, prosecutors, judges, etc. than shoplifters do. I doubt the Dallas and Boston homicide detectives are being held back by all the shoplifters they have to investigate, and the beat cops picking up shoplifters probably aren’t the major force behind murder investigations. Similarly, prosecuting shoplifting is generally on the order of traffic court. If they’re still using resources prosecuting minor traffic offenses, the whole idea falls a little flat.

    • The idea is to shift scarce law enforcement resources

      Unless the stores get so frustrated due to the lack of prosecution that they stop calling the police altogether, “law enforcement resources” are still used.

      Also, how will you ever know whether something is “first time shoplifting” if you never prosecute the first time? We’re just trusting the DA’s office to determine whether someone was guilty the first time they were charged, without a trial?

  • Maybe the police chief can extend this program of forgiveness for all the Jean Valjeans of the world to skip the middleman, and go straight to people’s refrigerators. I mean, if it is a ‘need’ that someone has that could be satisfied by taking a few items from your pantry, closet, or medicine cabinet, then why should prosecution hinder this.

    Maybe Mr. Creuzot needs to become a victim of his own policy first. Will the socialist liberal who gets robbed remain a socialist liberal?

  • John Ross, “The idea is to shift scarce law enforcement resources from penny ante to violent crimes.” Oh so then Boston & Dallas will be shifting massive police resources away from traffic and parking violations I assume?

    • Well, traffic and parking along with a healthy civil forfeiture program pay for all that law enforcement…
      My daughter’s comment was most shoplifters stopped with diapers / formula / etc always seemed to manage to include cosmetics and other such items in their attempted haul…

  • You gotta admit there’s a certain logic to this if his goal is “on reducing recidivism”. If they’re not prosecuted then they can’t recidivate. In other words, if you don’t cycle them through the 1st time, you can’t say they’re back againl. Can’t you see where this is going next, “Why look how much I’ve reduced recidivism!! It’s down 75%!!! Reelect Me!!!”.

    I see this not ending well when someone picks the wrong person to steal from.

  • -Hugo says: “As a libertarian fellow-traveler, I have called for decades to end prosecution for victimless offenses. Finally people like me seemed to get a hearing, only to find progressives leapfrogging us to free real criminals.”

    Which of these offenses are victimless? Are you still talking about theft? Everyone else is talking about theft. Theft has easily identified victims. How ’bout you come try to steal from me and we’ll see how that goes.

    -Piggybacking on No Name Guy’s quote from Creuzot, “What we are focusing on is not on processing cases, it’s on reducing recidivism…” and then John Ross: “As Rollins says (see interview in link at bottom), someone who has no criminal history who steals diapers is very likely deserving of mercy. Repeat offenders not so much — and they will be prosecuted.”

    If thieves are never charged, they will not have a criminal record, so there is no metric for recidivism, so they are always deserving of mercy. The logical conclusion is that there will never be prosecutions.

    Can mercy rob justice? No. If you feel like being merciful, then you must pay the victims for the perp’s damages. Just put out an announcement that anyone caught shoplifting should call you and you will pay for the goods. You can keep your own records on recidivism if you want. But that is not kindness.

    As for me, I will do the kind thing. I will prosecute the thief, let them pay their debt to society. Some do learn, and I gladly welcome them back. Others never do. If they never learn to keep their hands off my property, my wife, and my life, then they are not worthy to join the rest of society.

    • Pardon, I may have misread Hugo’s comment. So are you saying abolish parking violations but still prosecute shoplifting? My apologies.

      • @D–
        Your second reading is correct. I oppose drug prohibition, bans on prostitution (between competent consenting adults), obscenity laws, etc. I applaud recent moves to end marijuana prohibition. Shoplifting, however, is a “real crime” with a victim.

        As for parking, some restrictions are reasonable, eg obstructing a hydrant or a busy crosswalk, double-parking on a busy street where it causes problems, blocking driveways, etc. Note that there are, or potentially can be, victims in each case.

  • Kim Foxx (State’s att’y in the Jesse Smollett bleach ‘n’ noose case) is reputed to have gotten a big chunk of campaign money from George Soros…wonder if the Dallas and Boston D.A.’s did also?

  • Stores in “bad” neighrborhoods will simply stop selling these items. Food deserts may be a liberal myth, but those same people may be creating baby supply deserts.