Impacts of California Proposition 47 on Crime In Santa Monica (2020)

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  • Researched by: Jennifer Crodelle, Celeste Vallejo, Markus Schmidtchen, Chad Topaz, Maria R. D’Orsogna
  • Publication Date: May 04, 2020
  • Read the Study Here

Proposition 47 was a 2014 initiative that reclassified some non-violent felonies to misdemeanors. Using a publicly-available database compiled and maintained by the Santa Monica Police Department, we investigated whether the passage of Proposition 47 in the state of California had any impact on criminal activity, specifically crimes that were reclassified. We also study how the 2016 opening of four new light rail stations, and how more community-based policing starting in late 2018, impacted crime.

Reports of monthly reclassified crimes increased city-wide by approximately 15% after the enactment of Proposition 47, with a significant drop observed in late 2018.  Downtown exhibited the largest overall surge.  The reported incidence of larceny intensified throughout the city.  Two new train stations, including Downtown, reported significant crime increases in their vicinity after service began. The law did not cause the increase, but there was a strong correlation between Proposition 47 and the increase of these reclassified crimes. At the end of 2018, the Santa Monica police department implemented a community based policing measure. With this newfound collaborative relationship between police officers and their constituents, we found that the crimes reclassified by Passage 47 decreased.