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Study: Link between auto thefts and AB 109 offenders

Published On: Dec 11 2013 09:18:48 PM CST   Updated On: Dec 11 2013 09:19:48 PM CST
REDDING, Calif. -

A 15 percent spike in car thefts has been tied to those out of California state prisons, because of realignment.

Redding Police Sgt. Aaron Maready said Wednesday he’s seen the shift in criminal activity locally.
"It's effecting the area, there's a huge release of the criminals back into our neighborhoods,” said Maready.

According to the first independent study on crime trends which are driven by the state’s prison realignment program about 18,000 criminals are currently free because of AB 109.

The study, done by the Public Policy Institute of California, shows an increase in crimes statewide.

"Things like property crimes, they know they're not going to go back to prison for those, so they're going to steal stuff that's not bolted down,” explained Maready.

Those property thefts could include your car, with 24,000 additional vehicles stolen specifically because of those released on AB 109.

The impact of car thefts has crept its way up to the Northstate.

"For the month of December we've had 59 stolen cars so far, which is pretty significant considering all of last month, November, we had 51 total. So we're already half way through the month and we've already done more damage than last month all together," said Maready.

The Sergeant believes stealing a car comes easy to criminals when punishments on a state level are so light.

"They know what they can get away with, they know what the law is and they know if they're not doing anything that's violent then they'll, at worst, get a slap on the hand and get a book and release,” said Maready.

A two-month extension on the state’s deadline to cut its prison population was pushed back Wednesday. California’s prison population must be cut to about 110,000 inmates by April 18.