Written by William Hekman
With the recall election now in the rear view mirror of Californians, many are focusing their attention on the 2022 midterm elections. But what will be the key issue in 2022 here in California? In Virginia’s gubernatorial race, education has been the most talked about issue and the positions taken by candidates Glenn Youngkin and Terry McAuliffe have driven voters into their voting block for their stance on education. In California, one issue is set to be talked about the most: crime.
It is no secret that California has seen a rise in crime, particularly in the big cities. In Los Angeles, the homicide rate is 17% higher than 2020, and 49% from 2019. According to city crime statistics there have been 320 killings as of October 18th, putting the City of Angels on pace to surpass 400 killings for the first time since 2006. It has not helped that the vaccine mandate could result in a “mass exodus” according to LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva. In San Francisco, a city decimated by rising crime, one Safeway is now limiting its hours due to rampant shoplifting. Walgreens has closed five of their locations in San Francisco because of what they call “organized retail crime”.
But it is not just in the big cities, it is also in rural parts of California. In the San Joaquin Valley, low income and disadvantaged communities are being kicked out to make way for the expensive bullet train project. The removal of homes, businesses, and residents has increased drug deals and crime in some areas. In the small town of Wasco in Kern County, the high speed rail authority paid the city to relocate a farmworkers’ housing site to make way for construction. The vacated housing units have now been used for a number of crimes and also have homeless living in them, “Many of the units have been set on fire. There are homeless folks there, others hiding out, doing drug deals and storing stolen goods” says city manager Scott Hurlbert.
Photo Cred: ABC 10 News