Members of the San Mateo Police Department have said that recent upticks in crime could be linked to the state’s inmate realignment. The realignment went into effect in late 2011. It required that non serious, non sexual non violent offenders be transferred from state prisons to county jails to serve out the remainder of their sentences. This has led to overcrowding within the county system, according to corrections officers, and they have started to release inmates before their time is fully served. In some counties, local offenders are serving about half of the time they are supposed to.
A representative from the San Mateo Police Department said they have seen a 23% spike in burglaries. Law enforcement officials and residents believe that the increased rates of crimes against property are directly linked to the realignment. State officials still feel the program is too new to draw any solid conclusions. They have released a report that showed that fewer and fewer inmates were being rearrested. Opponents say this report only tracked newly released offenders for the first six months.
One local police department has begun tracking inmates that had been booked at their location. The found that many reported low-risk offenders had committed very serious crimes. One had been arrested for attempted murder. Another was taken into custody and booked for assault with a deadly weapon.
San Mateo Police Department representatives reportedly have a theory as to why these criminals have since turned to property crimes. The sentencing guidelines are much lighter for this offense, they said, and they don’t do much to deter would-be offenders.