Dallas County in Texas has a new District Attorney this year and he’s really making a name for himself. John Creuzot is blazing a rather different trail than other district attorneys, however. Rather than putting away the bad guys and keeping the public safe, Creuzot has been busy laying out all of the crimes that he won’t be prosecuting anyone over. It’s all in the name of not “criminalizing poverty,” as the DA puts it. But a lot of business owners aren’t exactly welcoming the news. (Fox 4 News)
Dallas County’s new district attorney announced his office will no longer prosecute “theft of necessary items” up to $750. The announcement drew an immediate reaction from small business owners who are worried that word of the policy will encourage shoplifting.
While the Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot tried to clarify his new policy on Friday, some business owners are worried about what the DA’s new policy will mean for them.
Cody Ellison and his business partner own three shops in the Bishop Arts District. The DA’s letter to the people of Dallas County does not sit well with him.
“To have the thought of someone being able to come in and steal $750 from us and there be no consequence is unfathomable to me,” Ellison said.
So you can now feel free to steal up to 750 bucks worth of goods provided they are “essential items?” The DA is citing examples such as food and baby formula, but $750 dollars in most grocery stores would fill up quite a few carts. Of course, that “clarification” of what he meant came as part of a hurried walk back after the obvious objections were raised. Why would people even hesitate to start robbing the Wegmans if they know they won’t be prosecuted for it? And what do you tell the business owners who have to cover those losses on their bottom line?
This isn’t Creuzot’s first “reform” plan since being elected. He previously announced that didn’t want the police arresting the mentally ill for disorderly conduct or potentially threatening behavior. I’m sure his intentions are good, but law enforcement is asking what else they’re supposed to do when the shelters are full and there’s no place else to send them.
Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata said patrol officers have few options when it comes to the mentally ill and there are a large number of such people on the streets.
“He’s exactly right when he said we do go to shelters and they’re full and he said we should leave them there. Well, we can’t leave them there. We took them into custody we can’t just drop them off on the street. So, if the shelters can’t take them and the county isn’t going to take them, what are we going to do with them?” Mata said.
The DA has a laundry list of other crimes he doesn’t want to see people arrested or prosecuted for. These include Criminal Trespass, Driving while license invalid (DWLI), Probation violations and first-time marijuana possession.
Not for nothing, but isn’t criminal justice reform supposed to be a matter for the legislature to handle? The DA is supposed to enforce the laws as they are, not as he wishes them to be.