Back in 2016, Oklahoma voters approved SQ 780 and SQ 781 – two criminal justice reform measures designed to address our state's overcrowded prisons, and make it harder for us to retain our title as the "Incarceration Capital of the World™."
So far, the measures appear to have got the ball slowly rolling in the right direction. Although it may take years for our prison population to see a net reduction in inmates, according to this Tulsa World article, "The number of felony and misdemeanor filings in Oklahoma returned to levels not seen since 2008," with felonies dropping 28.4% statewide in one year, and misdemeanor cases rising only 13.6%.
Despite these short-term successes, the Oklahoma law enforcement industry – with the help of their pals in the TV news media and private sector – are now trying to push a narrative that SQ 780 and SQ 781 are not working, and even leading to more crime.
Well, at least that appears to be the intended takeaway from this KTUL Channel 8 report. It blames an increase in shoplifting at Tulsa-area QuikTrips on criminal justice reform.
It doesn’t get more Tulsa than Quik Trip.QT is everywhere here, but while the stores may be a favorite of yours, they’re also a favorite target for crooks.“Being from Tulsa, Oklahoma, having our headquarters here, we’re kind of embarrassed by how bad crime is getting right now,” said Mike Thornbrugh, spokesperson for QT.Thornbrugh said thefts skyrocketed not long after Oklahoma voters approved ‘State Question 780.’There are QT’s all over the country and Thornbrugh said, “We’ll tell you Tulsa, Oklahoma is the worst in regards to property crime in any city or state that we operate."
Yep. It's official. QuikTrip has seen an increase in shoplifting and it's SQ 780's fault! The correlation between the two are direct and obvious and not the result of any other factors or issues. No further research or analysis is needed. We'll take QuikTrip for their word. Case closed.
Now let's get to the part where the local Sheriff piles on:
“I believe the idea of this was genuine and filled with good intentions,” said Tulsa County Sheriff, Vic Regalado.Regalado said it’s not just Quik Trip that’s seen property crimes increase, but stores and homes all across green country.“We’ve essentially given a license to steal (for) a lot of repeat offenders,” said Regalado.
Yep. Who cares that before 780 passed, you would have to had shoplifted over $500 worth of merchandise from a QuikTrip to be charged with a felony. We've given repeat offenders a license to steal from QuikTrip! 780 and 781 are bad laws and should be overturned immediately! We should continue to send low-level offenders to jail where they'll only cost taxpayers money... and not QuikTrip.
That being said, couldn't QuikTrip at least hire more security to stop shoplifting? It is a privately held company that's worth billions of dollars. You think they could afford it, right?
As for Quik Trip, the company has hired special security. It’s been helping stop a lot of theft, but that costs money.“Are we losing money? The answer is no, because here’s why. Any business that has loss, you’ve got to run your business and operate on a certain gross margin. You’ve got to raise your prices and pass it on to the consumer,” said Thornbrugh.Both said, change is good and Oklahoma needs to tackle criminal justice reform, but they aren’t sure this was the way to do it.
I'd actually agree. Calling a TV station and making sweeping, unfair assumptions that are designed to negatively shape public opinion on criminal justice reform is probably not the best way to do it. The only thing that does is mislead the public and highlight the cosy, mutually beneficial, incestuous relationship between TV news and local law enforcement that profits on fear mongering.