Lies, damned lies and statistics – California edition

I’m sure many of my readers will have read or heard that Governor Jerry Brown of California boasted last week that crime in that state was way down.  Well, it all depends what you call a crime, doesn’t it?

In his state of the state address yesterday, Governor Jerry Brown boasted that last year the number of reported felonies was actually lower than in 1970.

He must [have] forgotten that in 2014, Proposition 47, which he supported, converted all theft, fraud, and receiving stolen property felonies of less than $950 and most drug possession crimes to misdemeanors. That’s thousands [of] crimes per year that are no longer felonies.  Of course reported felonies are down.

What he did not tell us is that, under his inmate release and rehabilitation policies violent crime in California has increased for three years in a row.  This is the first time that has happened since 1992. This includes murder, robbery, rape and aggravated assault.  Auto thefts have gone up for eight straight years.  And the millions in promised savings of state prison costs by leaving criminals in the counties never happened.  Since 2011, when the Governor signed AB 109, his first big sentencing reform, state prison costs have climbed by $1.7 billion, according to the Governor’s own budget office.

What’s worse, the just released preliminary numbers for big California cities over the first six months of 2017 show another increase in violent crime in 56% of the state’s 73 largest cities.  This is very similar to increases reported for the first six months of 2016.

There’s more at the link.

I’m not blaming Governor Brown as a Democrat for this, of course.  Republicans are more than willing to pull similar shenanigans, every chance they get.  It’s the curse of politicians in general.  Once they get into office, they lie, either deliberately, or by fudging the statistics (for example, the official rate of inflation, which is far below the real rate, as we’ve discussed in these pages on numerous occasions).

How do you know when a politician is lying?  Whenever their lips are moving.



  1. Hey Peter;

    And the stuff that they manipulate especially in California don't effect "The Ruling class" they have bodyguards and security. This stuff just affects "The Rest of us". That is why they don't care, they only need us for votes.

  2. California has done the same thing as many of the European countries. Decriminalized Crime. Which, of course, means the actions formerly called crime suddenly disappear, right?


    Why don't they just proclaim the value of Pi to be '3' to make it easier to do math because math is hard, right?

  3. California is a one party state and has been for over a decade. There is, to all intents and purposes no opposition and the legislators, lobbyists and governor can do anything they want. It is Venezuela in training. It used to suck living there for 30 years and knowing that by the time the primaries came around to California we would inevitably be stuck with the John McCains and that meant there was really no reason to go to the polls after they locked up Randy "Duke" Cunningham.

  4. @Alphonse et al:
    Not so much.
    Unlike the Venezuelan campesinos, we peasants here are well-armed.
    The example your looking for is one where TPTB are faced with a populace where 49% are poised for a pushback, and they're much more numerous and better armed than TPTB.

    Pity Gorbachev left the Bay Area teaching gig and moved back to Moscow.
    He could have watched two revolutions from his windows, instead of one.

    2016: Police layoffs cut back on record-keeping personnel.
    2017: Authorities report crime is down.
    2018: Gov. Moonbeam decrees end to all police record-keeping, in bid to end all crime entirely.

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