Coming on the heels of the City Council’s decision to further cut police resources in Los Angeles, Monday’s Supreme Court decision sets up a perfect storm for a wave of crime to overtake recent gains in public safety.
The court, in a 5-4 decision, ordered California to reduce prison overcrowding – a decision that is expected to force the release of tens of thousands of inmates.
We share the fears of Justice Samuel Alito, who was among the minority of the justices opposed to the decision. “I fear,” he wrote, “that today's decision, like prior prisoner release orders, will lead to a grim roster of victims. I hope that I am wrong. In a few years, we will see." We hope you are wrong too, Justice Alito. But when it comes to public safety, hope shouldn’t be a strategy.
In light of the court’s ruling and because L.A. County is the largest in the state, accounting for about a third of the entire state prison population, we can assume more inmates will return here than to any other county in the state. Because of this likely influx, we call for a reconsideration of the police cuts in the budget approved by the City Council. Mayor Villaraigosa can make that happen by vetoing portions of the city budget and sending them back to the City Council. That would give council members one last chance to put public safety first.