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SCVNews.com | Antonovich Calls for Realignment Repeal | 04-02-2013
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antonovich_cropA recent tragic kidnapping has highlighted how AB 109’s historic shift in responsibility has had a major negative impact in many Los Angeles County communities, Supervisor Michael Antonovich said Tuesday.

“The governor’s failed realignment program is a proven threat to public safety, which has overwhelmed probation departments and local law enforcement agencies statewide,” Antonovich said.

“The governor needs to take the proper steps and call a special session of the legislature to repeal this reckless program,” he added.

Antonovich’s most recent statements were in light of the fact that police officers Monday were looking for a high-profile Northridge kidnapping suspect who was an AB 109 parolee.

But it’s a problem in the Santa Clarita Valley, as well.

More than one-third of all criminals who are released under AB 109, which is known as the Post-Release Community Supervision Act are re-arrested, according to Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station statistics.

At the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, Capt. Paul Becker recently announced two county probation officers, who were being brought on to help to ease the burden.

Their primary task would be keeping an eye on AB 109 offenders, he said in a March interview.

“The county approved two probation officers — we’re going to embed one in our detective unit and one in our Crime Prevention Unit,” said Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station Capt. Paul Becker.

“(The probation officers) will be doing (address) verifications, they’ll have the authority to do incarcerations, they’ll make sure that if there are any contingencies that they’re in adherence to that,” Becker said.

Sheriff’s Station officials have not commented on whether there’s a direct link between AB 109 and the rise in petty thefts, burglaries and larcenies, citing the fact that it’s too early to draw conclusions without a formal study, and statistical analyses have been skewed by the city’s recent annexations.

However, in the last year, stationwide statistics bear out a notable rise in less-serious crimes, such as burglaries and larcenies, which are the type of offenses for which parolees generally receive “flash incarcerations,” which are 7- to 10-day sentences for violating parolees.

A Criminal Justice Legal Foundation statement decried AB 109 Tuesday, citing countywide stats that point to the fact that these offenders frequently commit crimes shortly after they are released.

Under AB 109, which is also known as re-alignment, misdemeanor offenders are serving about 10-15 percent of their sentences prior to release. Once maximum jail capacities are met, the amount of time served will continue to decrease.

There have been 11,473 criminals sentenced to LA County jail rather than prison since Realignment began in October 2011, according to statistics from Antonovich’s office.

Among these offenders, 40 are serving sentences between eight and 40 years. There are now more than 43,000 inmates serving sentences in local jails rather than state prison. This is expected to increase to 52,000 by 2014.

While the SCV Sheriff’s Station still has the lowest crime rate of any area in L.A. County, with the exception of Catalina, the crime numbers have risen.

Statistics made available by the Sheriff’s Station in March showed an increase of 77 Part-I crimes in a comparison of year-to-date figures for the first two months of last year to the first two months of this year, for the station’s entire patrol area.

The number of reported burglary incidents have increased by more than 56 percent in a year-to-year comparison, according to LASD statistics.

In other areas, the rise is much more statistically significant.

Crime reports from both the Sheriff and Probation departments indicate that property crimes across the county have increased dramatically over the last 12 months.

Burglaries have increased by 175 percent in Hawaiian Gardens; 172 percent in Walnut; 130 percent in Lomita; 100 percent in Artesia; and 92 percent in La Mirada, according to a CJLF statement.

Auto theft has jumped by 365 percent in Artesia; 152 percent in Crescenta Valley; 120 percent in San Dimas; 100 percent in Marina Del Rey; and 50 percent in Palmdale.

More recently, police are searching for Tobias Dustin Summers for the March 24, early morning bedroom abduction of a 10-year-old SoCal girl.

The victim was found 12 hours later wandering near a Starbucks several miles from her home. She had been sexually assaulted.

In spite of prior convictions for robbery, auto theft and kidnapping, Summers was released from prison to county probation instead of state parole under re-alignment.

He served six days in jail last January for violating probation, which, before realignment, would have resulted in his being sent back to state prison.

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