Tuesday, February 14, 2023
District Attorney Jason Anderson and Sheriff Shannon Dicus, County of San Bernardino
Meeting In-Person and via ZOOM
Present: Megan Barajas, Deborah Barmack, Peter Barmack, Carole Beswick, Greg Bradbard, Mike Burrows, Chris Carrillo, Mark Cloud, Ken Coate, Michelle Decker, Kevin Dyerly, Dr. Sam Gibbs, Louis Goodwin, Otis Greer, T. Milford Harrison, Fran Inman, Lena Kent, Steve Lambert, Bill Lemann, Darcy McNaboe, John Mirau, Dan Murphy, Robert Nava, Bansree Parikh, Cid Pinedo, Catherine Pritchett, Michael Rivera, Dan Schenkel, Kristine Scott, Paul Shimoff, Eric Ustation, Pete Van Helden, Michael Wells, and Frank Zabaleta.
Guests: Kelly Kesler, Norm Munoz, and Jessica Torres,
Announcements: 1) Milford Harrison shared graphics in the event’s folder showing the current water storage in our reservoirs. 2) 2023 federal issues will be posted on the Inland Action website later today. 3) Staff has cast a broad net for Washington, D.C. appointment requests. 4) A delegation of Inland Action members will travel to Sacramento to meet with the Governor’s Legislative Secretary tomorrow. Subjects include the Inland Empire economy and opportunities, transportation capacity and judgeships.
Kevin Dyerly, Chair presiding. First Vice Chair Michael Rivera completed the meeting.
Motion by M. Harrison/Second/Passed: Minutes from February 7, 2023.
Membership Chair, Kristine Scott, announced the second reading of prospective new member National Association for Industrial and Office Parks-Inland Empire (NAIOP). Their primary representative would be Bill Blankenship and Jonathan Shardlow would serve as their Alternate representative. To learn more about them https://www.naiop.org/ The Membership will vote next week.
Kristine Scott introduced Sheriff Shannon Dicus and District Attorney Jason Anderson, of San Bernardino County, who joined us in-person to discuss the retail theft crisis, homelessness and mental health.
The Sheriff gave statistics on both holiday and overall retail theft which has risen dramatically. Examples given were in major retail areas in:
- Chino Hills saw a 100% increase in shoplifting and commercial burglaries.
- Rancho Cucamonga (including Victoria Gardens) had a 31% increase in grand thefts, a 27% increase in petty thefts and a 96% increase in robberies.
- Victorville experienced a 143% increase in burglaries and a 68% increase in identity thefts and fraud.
- Hesperia had nearly a 60% increase in shoplifting and a 74% increase in petty theft.
The numbers are extreme, but law enforcement has reason to believe that crime has actually been underreported as businesses have become frustrated and discouraged in reporting thefts as the law no longer has “teeth”.
Reasons for the substantial increases in theft include the pandemic and changes in California laws.
California’s Prop 47 reclassified property theft from a felony to a misdemeanor if the value is $950 or less. The change sent a message to criminals that there are almost no consequences for property theft under that limit. Without felony charges repeat offenders are not subject to the 3 strikes law.
The statistics continue to grow even with deputies focused on theft prevention and assistance from the CHP aiding local law enforcement, which is funded by grant money.
District Attorney Anderson explained that he is working with all law enforcement for more convictions using some creative pathways such as proving aggregate theft that shows specific intent which will raise crimes to a felony level even if under the $950 per incident. Proving conspiracy between two people, as in a gang or even a single perpetrator who has a “get away” driver, equates to a conspiracy. This practice is getting results and the County is getting a reputation that is known to be less attractive for criminals.
There is a continuing push from retailers to change policies and he stated the trend is positive. Even if discouraging, it is important for all crimes to be reported.
Homelessness often has a direct correlation to mental health and necessary resources are scarce.
Sheriff Dicus will share data and his opinions on needed legislation with Inland Action for potential collaborative advocacy.
A Q & A period followed.
Meeting adjourned at 8:34a.m.