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California Crime Measure Triggers 52,000 Fewer Arrests

Michael Coghlan / Flickr
 

Michael Coghlan / Flickr

(AP) - Experts say a 2014 California voter-approved initiative that reduced penalties for certain drug and property crimes has led to the lowest arrest rate in state history as police frequently ignore those illegal activities.

Proposition 47 lowered criminal sentences by reducing them from felonies that can bring long prison sentences to misdemeanors that instead bring up to a year in jail.

That resulted in 52,000 fewer arrests overall and the lowest arrest rate since record-keeping began in 1960.

Public Policy Institute of California researcher Magnus Lofstrom says Proposition 47 caused most of the changes.

The falling arrest rate comes despite what the state Department of Justice says was an increase in overall crime rates last year.

Lofstrom says it's too soon to tell whether the changes helped spur rising crime.