New measure aims to reduce drug use and crime across California

Brianna Willis Image
Friday, April 19, 2024
New measure aims to reduce drug use and crime across California
Leaders across the state are working to reduce crime and homelessness.

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Leaders across the state are working to reduce crime and homelessness.

Thursday, The Californians for Safer Communities Coalition, submitted over 900,000 signatures to get a new measure on the November ballot, that makes changes to Prop 47.

Supporters say the Homelessness, Drug Addiction, and Theft Reduction Act would create harsher penalties for repeat offenders and will help protect small businesses and families impacted by the ongoing fentanyl crisis.

Carlos Mendoza, owner of "Bird Dog Cards & Comix" says he was forced to get a gate to keep people from robbing his store.

"It was about $10,000 on this one alone," said Mendoza.

He showed Action News surveillance video from 6 months ago, when someone stole dozens of master cards from him.

"I'm just tying to like build a community here, have a spot so that people can come play cards with their families and friends and stuff, and when people do this, it makes it kind of hard," said Mendoza.

That's where the "Homelessness, Drug Addiction, and Theft Reduction Act" comes in.

The measure would hold people accountable who repeatedly steal from stores.

It also aims to target those who are consistently selling drugs like fentanyl.

"I don't want another mother to feel what I feel, every single day," said Pamela Smith, who lost her son to fentanyl.

July 3rd, 2016, Pamela Smith lost her son Jackson to fentanyl, and he's not alone she says 110 Californians die every week because of the drug, and she thinks this initiative is a crucial step in addressing the ongoing crisis.

"What will happen is that the people who are arrested for drug abuse, at a certain point, they will be offered drug treatment and that's what they need," said Smith.

"It will also penalize the drug traffickers as they need to be penalized, because right now its pretty much a slap on the wrist, and to me that's not good enough, because they are destroying families."

Clint Olivier, CEO of the Central Valley Business Federation, says if approved by the secretary of state for the ballot, he believes it would make the golden state a more livable place.

"I think this is an issue that really cuts across race and gender and economic level because everybody is paying the cost of this," said Olivier. "Prices are going up because the people who are shopping and going through the check stand actually have to pay extra, to pay for the goods that are going out when people don't go through the check stand."

Mendoza is just hoping he can continue creating the safe space he intended for the card and collectable communities.

"I can't have that happen again," said Mendoza.

With the 900,000 signatures, the measure is now eligible for the November ballot.

However, the secretary of state still has to review the signatures.

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