The California Report with Carl DeMaio

The California Report with Carl DeMaio

The California Report with Carl DeMaio offers candid discussion on the latest in local and national political headlines, policies and reform. The...Full Bio


New Data Reveals Link Between Homelessness and Crime Wave in California

Crime data released by District Attorney reveals homeless individuals are up to 514 times more likely to commit crimes. Yet California Democrats continue to handicap law enforcement’s ability to enforce laws against homeless individuals to force them to get the mental health and substance abuse treatment they need.


California represents 12% of the US population, but has 48% of the nation’s homeless — and growing. With crime also increasing in recent years, many have wondered if there is any link between homelessness and lawlessness. New crime data released this week suggests the answer is a resounding yes.

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan and her office released a report detailing crime rates in homeless versus non-homeless populations from 2019 to 2021. For felony-level offenses, the DA’s office discovered that homeless individuals were up to 514 times more likely to commit crimes. 

Worse, homeless individuals who commit a crime are often repeat offenders. Stephan’s report showed 98% of homeless individuals cited for a crime had two or more new cases filed against them. 

Stephan pinpointed the cause of the spikes as untreated mental health and addiction disorders, as well as laws preventing law enforcement from deterring petty crime and steering homeless individuals into treatment before lawless behavior escalates. Homeless individuals were 118 times more likely to die of a drug overdose than the non-homeless population. 

“In my role as the county’s top public safety official, my goal is to bring solutions driven by my team’s unique experience where homelessness, mental health issues and substance use disorders intersect with the criminal justice system,” said Stephan.

Carl DeMaio, chairman of Reform California, praised DA Stephan’s acknowledgement of mental health and addiction issues as they relate to crime and homelessness. 

“To solve the homeless crisis, we must address mental health and substance abuse in these individuals — but we have to do that with a tough-love approach which means supporting and empowering our law enforcement agencies to actually enforce the law,” DeMaio explained. “This allows law enforcement to be the compassionate stick to drive homeless into treatment programs, which will force them to address their issues,” DeMaio continued.

In recent years, California’s liberal politicians have prohibited law enforcement from enforcing laws regarding panhandling, petty theft, loitering, trespassing, public indecency, and drugs. 

DeMaio says the first step to enforcing the law again and helping the homeless before their behavior escalates is to support an initiative to repeal Prop 47, which will reverse many of these rules.

In a recent Berkeley/IGS poll, 57% of California voters indicated support for a repeal of Prop 47.

DeMaio and Reform California are working to secure enough signatures by April 26th to qualify a repeal measure for the November 2022 ballot. 

“This effort is critical for truly helping our homeless population recover from their burdens and making our communities safer — but we need your help to get this repeal of Prop 47 on the ballot,” said DeMaio. “I’m asking all concerned Californians to support our campaign today to restore public safety and solve the homeless crisis,” he concluded.

Join the Fight: Restore Public Safety to Solve the Homeless Crisis

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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