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Retail Theft is More Than a Crisis, California Sheriff Says

"It really started with the change in law in 2014 with Prop 47, which was voted on by the voters, I should say, and the voters were duped into voting for that. It was called the safe streets and schools act," Sheriff Jim Cooper said.

Sacramento County Sheriff Jim Cooper addresses the public.Sacramento County Sheriff Jim Cooper addresses the public.Sacramento County SO/Facebook

Rampant shoplifting in California’s capital has surpassed "crisis level," according to the outspoken sheriff of Sacramento County.

"It is way beyond crisis level," Sacramento County Sheriff Jim Cooper told Fox News Digital in a Zoom interview Thursday about shoplifting. 

Cooper, a Democrat who previously served in the California State Assembly, told Fox News Digital there is a "disconnect" between retail workers who see crime issues play out in front of their eyes and request the sheriff’s office for assistance, and corporate leaders who want to avoid bad press. 

"To be honest, at the corporate level, the board level, it's about image. That's really what matters and it’s sad," Cooper said. "People have seen shoplifting going on in the stores with your family. You see it day in, day out and quite frankly, the public's fed up. Right now, it's polling about 80%. So the public is on the side [of], 'Hey, it's out of control. It's time to do something.' But for right now, the retailers, if they choose to, can really deal with it and do an initiative, but it has to go back to the voters."

Cooper pinned blame on California’s Proposition 47, which voters passed in 2014 through a ballot initiative. Under the law, shoplifting charges regarding theft of $950 or less were lowered from felonies to misdemeanors.

"It really started with the change in law in 2014 with Prop 47, which was voted on by the voters, I should say, and the voters were duped into voting for that. It was called the safe streets and schools act," Cooper said, noting the effects of Prop 47 were felt immediately in the state and has since evolved over the past nine years. 

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