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By David Ganezer
Observer Staff Writer 

At a Debate in Santa Monica, DA George Gascon Says Incarceration Is Not a Solution to LA County's Soaring Crime Rate

Gascon called criticism of him "fake news.” But his opponents, such as Jon Hatami, argued that Gascon's progressive policies had lead to an increase in crime.

 

November 22, 2023

John Hatami addressing Santa Monica crime debate

At a debate in Santa Monica, Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon denied that his progressive policies had lead to an increase in crime. sixteen candidates, mostly members of the District Attorney’s office, are competing to replace Gascon in November.

Gascon called criticism of him "fake news." He denied that his progressive policies had lead to an increase in crime. He said that crime has risen nationwide since he was elected 3 years ago, “and violent crime is actually down in LA over last year.”

One of Gascon’s opponents is deputy DA Jonathan Hatami. Hatami denied that anyone but Gascon was responsible for LA’s rise in crime. He said that hate crimes are up 100% in three years. Retail crime up 128%, commercial thefts and burglaries are up in three years “People have had enough of these smash and grab burglaries. Violent crime is up in 3 years. Police are demoralized, that’s why violent crime is down a little this year,” Hatami said. “I’m running for the safety of my children, who are in this audience,” he said.

Gascon denied that his progressive policies had not lead to an increase in crime.

“It almost seems we’re at a Repulican debate,” countered Gascon. “During the pandemic, crime went up. But it actually went up less in our community than in other communities,” countered Gascon. “The reality is we went through 3 years of pandemic. On December 8th I was being blamed for the crime going up,” said Gascon, claiming he was blamed for an increase that had already been happening.

“If you’re sexually abusing someone out on the street you should be held reliable for your crimes. But we also need a prosecutor who is empathetic, who wants to reform people if you can. But if you sexually molest a child, you have to have punishment. The number one responsibility for a DA is to make sure people are held responsible for their crimes. Then if you want to have reform, you can,” said Hatami.

 
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