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Business Districts Say Fewer Restrictions On Criminals Are Driving Out Business

SACRAMENTO ( CBS13) - Local businesses say they under attack by career criminals.

Sacramento County businesses say California's no bail policy and looser chronic-nuisance-offender policies are destroying their livelihoods. It's gotten so bad in parts of Sacramento county that some businesses are asking to break their leases to escape the constant crime.

"The businesses are under constant attack," said Chris Evans, Executive Director of the Antelope Business District. "The zero bail has caused a continued problem. There is recidivism. I have one case where a gentleman committed three felonies in a row. It's just an issue that's been building up and building up," he explained.

In a letter to Sacramento County Superior Court, Evans, along with other business districts representing 2,386 businesses, are calling for an end to California's "No bail policy" and to reinstate the Chronic Nuisance Offender Program.

The group that is tracking crimes in their districts has documented an 82% increase in the last year.

"Eighty percent of my budget goes just to security in my district -- just keeping the stores secure," Evans explained.

Ethan Conrad, CEO of Ethan Conrad Properties, owns several commercial properties including one in North Highlands that has seen a spike in repeated crime.  According, to Evans. one business on Watt Avenue targeted Sunday night wants to break their lease. CARD, which stands for Center for Autism and Related Disorders, expressed concern to Conrad after their windows were hit with BBs. It is the latest in a string of crimes that have been committed against their businesses and others.

"It needs to be fixed. We have a broken system right now," explained Conrad. "There is nothing stopping people, repeat offenders from trespassing, bothering our tenants, and causing problems," he explained.

Their problems started with the zero bail implemented during the pandemic. Then last month, the State Supreme Court ruled it's unconstitutional to require defendants to remain behind bars if they can't afford bail.  Sacramento County Court met with partners last week to discuss issues regarding the status of bail in light of the recent decision of the California Supreme Court.

"These discussions included concerns raised by both the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office and the Sacramento County Property Business Improvement District about recidivist arrestees.  The Court continues to evaluate the impact on bail from the In re Humphrey's decision which restricts the use of bail to detain an individual pretrial unless certain criteria are met.   Although the Court understands the concerns expressed, we are mandated to maintain a bail schedule and bail system that is consistent with the U.S. and California Constitutions," court representatives said in a statement to CBS13.

Business districts say with an increase in crime and repeat offenders, more needs to be done.

"Until we have the Chronic Nuisance Offender Program back in place, the problem is only going to get bigger, Evans said.

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