IRVINE (CBSLA) — Years after opponents of a controversial state prison reduction bill said its passing would lead to violent criminals flooding the streets of California, a new study says that it has not led to an increase in crime.
Results from the study out of UC Irvine suggest the passage of Proposition 47 in 2014 “has had no effect on violent crimes, including homicide, rape, aggravated assault and robbery,” UCI said Wednesday.
“Increases in property offenses such as larceny and motor vehicle theft appear to show that Prop. 47 was the cause, but the UCI researchers have found that these findings do not withstand more rigorous statistical testing,” the university’s statement continued.
The 2014 law passed by California voters reduced certain drug and theft felonies to misdemeanors, in an effort to alleviate overcrowding in state prisons.
In 2015, Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell blamed the law for an increase in crime, which would contradict the study’s findings.
Since researchers could not compare crime statistics to those that would have existed if the law were not passed, they analyzed 44 years of crime data in California and every other state in the nation to create a “synthetic California” control group, in which the law was hypothetically never implemented.
“When we compared crime levels between these two Californias, they were very similar, indicating that Prop. 47 was not responsible for the increase,” said the study’s co-author Charis Kubrin, professor of criminology, law & society. The study’s other co-author was doctoral student Bradley Bartos.
The study will be published in August in the journal Criminology & Public Policy.