There’s a well-known saying that politicians and law enforcement across Southern California, and everywhere, ought to heed: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”
I’m not sure what it’s called when different policies garner the same results. Maybe bad policy?
Just over a week ago, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass declared war on the recent smash-and-grab robbery trend infecting the county’s retail stores.
She announced a new regional task force consisting of 22 investigators to focus entirely on curbing the shoplifting phenomenon sweeping Southern California.
Unfortunately, it seems lawless perpetrators did not get the message.
More Smash and Grabs in Los Angeles
Since the task force – including officers from police departments across the region, along with state and federal support – was assembled, at least three more large group incidents have been reported.
On Tuesday of this past week, a video from the Citizen app showed five masked thieves ransacking a Dior counter inside a Macy’s at the Shops of Santa Anita Mall. They grabbed boxed sets of perfumes, threw them into trash bags, and ran away as onlookers gasped.
In a separate incident, also posted on the Citizen app, a video shows the aftermath of a flash-mob robbery at a Footlocker store on Melrose Avenue, one of the city’s most popular shopping districts.
Some workers tried to confront the thieves and take the stolen merchandise back as they get into a car and drive away. The LAPD said an armed robbery report was made, but no suspects were caught despite the video clearly showing the suspects and an identifiable car.
This past Thursday yet another disturbing video emerged showing a flash mob robbing a Macy’s department store at Westfield Fashion Square in Sherman Oaks, an upscale suburb of L.A. The robbery took place in the middle of the day just after 12:30pm.
Such brazen behavior demonstrates that criminals don’t even try to be stealth when there are absolutely no consequences for their crimes.
Crime without Punishment
Just prior Mayor Bass’s announcement, a large group of coordinated thieves ransacked a Los Angeles-area luxury clothing store and escaped with approximately $100,000 worth of merchandise, according to police. About a dozen people in masks and monochrome black hoodies entered the denim retailer Ksubi in the Hancock Park neighborhood of L.A., according to the local news outlet KTLA.
L.A. county District Attorney George Gascon feigned outrage for the crimes he has helped perpetuate.
“I’m personally outraged by what was going on,” the lax on crime D.A. proclaimed.
“We will use every tool available under the law when there is an arrest made to make sure that these individuals are held accountable.”
I’m not sure how Gascon defines “accountable.” One of the men detained for the large mob robbery at the Yves St. Laurent store in the Glendale mall was released the day Bass declared the city would be cracking down on retail theft.
Marc Wertz, owner of one of L.A.’s favorite retail stores, American Rag, has had enough. He shouted, “the complacent politicians in Los Angeles have their head in the sand. They don’t understand what’s going on in their own city at all.”
When asked about Gascon and his promise to hold these criminals accountable, the agitated business owner commented, “Can I use some American vernacular that people use on the street? That’s total ********.”
It seems Wertz has a better solution than the city’s own D.A. “Criminal robbery deserves consequences,” he said. “Three years in prison, do it two times you get ten years in prison. It will stop.”
In an interview with Morning Wire, Deputy District Attorney John McKinney said “it’s going to take more than a flashy press conference” to deter the perpetrators of these crimes.
“They’re going to have to hear and see people going to jail and even prison before calculus of whether to get involved in this behavior changes.”
Until then, the grand thefts will continue.
Jennifer Galardi is the politics and culture editor and opinion writer for 19FortyFive.com. She has a Master’s in Public Policy from Pepperdine University and produces and hosts the podcast Connection with conversations that address health, culture, politics, and policy. In a previous life, she wrote for publications in the health, fitness, and nutrition space. In addition, her pieces have been published in the Epoch Times and Pepperdine Policy Review. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.
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