Violent crime is up in LA. Some tough-on-crime advocates blame Gascón

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In the year since George Gascón was sworn in as LA’s district attorney, he has made a lot of changes to the county’s criminal justice system – and has received a lot of backlash as a result. Photo by Maxim Elramsisy.

When George Gascón was sworn in as LA’s district attorney last December, he vowed an end to seeking the death penalty or life without parole, an end to prosecution of minors as adults, an end to cash bail, and other significant reforms. Gascón has made it clear he wants to stop very long sentences, even for some of the most serious and violent crimes. That’s a big change. 

He’s also faced a lot of resistance, including from within his own office and those who want him ousted. There’s a second recall attempt underway, with tough-on-crime advocates blaming reform-minded folks like Gascón for a rise in violent crime.

“There’s no evidence that [Gascón’s] policies are directly tied to [a rise in violent crime], but in the political arena, it almost doesn’t matter. If some voter thinks ‘look, crime is up, I want to blame this on the DA,’ then the recall effort could succeed,” says Jennifer Medina, New York Times national politics reporter who recently wrote about Gascón.

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