If you’re wondering how bad crime is becoming in California, here’s the perfect example: Recently, a city councilman was talking to the press about the crime problem, and while he was talking he had all of his belongings stolen. Mike Papantonio & Farron Cousins discuss more.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio: If you’re wondering how bad crime’s becoming in California, here’s the perfect example. Recently, a city councilman was talking to the press in front of a camera talking about crime and how bad it is and how, why people are leaving California, while he’s talking about it, he has his belongings stolen from him. Well, this story, every time we talk about it, we get the email, oh, you’re just making this up about Cali. It’s overwhelming now. You know, you’ve got these gangs showing up and going into malls and basically taking whatever the hell they want and getting outta town. So now what’s happening is you have this exodus, you have the big line stores that are leaving. They’re saying, we can’t, there’s no solution to this. There’s no police. We’ve accomplished what we want. We’ve lowered the number of police. We don’t have anybody to stop this in California right now. This story tells the whole. Emmy, was it Emeryville?

Farron Cousins: Yeah. He’s talking to the press. He’s talking to the business owners. He’s trying to kind of ease their fears, you know, oh.

Mike Papantonio: There’s no problem.

Farron Cousins: We’re gonna make it better. We’re working on this. And then he turns around and, all right. All my stuff, my car keys, my wallet has been taken from me while I’m sitting here trying to tell you we’re gonna handle the crime problem. So, it just, Saturday Night Live could not have written a skit that reflects this any better. This is almost parody at this point. They’re being robbed while talking to the press.

Mike Papantonio: It’s LA, it’s San Francisco. This little town is Emeryville. I don’t know where the hell Emeryville is. But the story comes out and the headlines on Emeryville, for example, were that teens, there was a mob of teens that had the folks working at Bath and Body Works in the storage part of the store, fighting for their lives. They were worried about being killed by the mob of teens that were coming in. That’s apparently how bad, that was what the story reported anyway. And so, as this is going on, I think what you’re seeing is you’re seeing people getting the hell outta town. I mean, the question is, how long can you ignore it? How long can you say this really isn’t happening? What’s your take on it? I mean, am I overstating that? If I am, please correct it.

Farron Cousins: No. It really has gotten to that point. Especially, you’ve got some malls in California that say, listen, we’re not gonna allow children in here anymore, because it’s not safe for your children to be in the mall. Because there is a risk that a mob, and we’re not talking about a group of 20 or 30 people. These are groups of roughly about a thousand people at a time that are coming into these stores. And it’s almost like a flash mob. They show up immediately, take what they can, and they leave.

Mike Papantonio: Okay. So the store says, there’s nothing we can do about it. We’re just gonna leave town. And so what you’re gonna have in California is a bunch of dollar stores, thrift shops. You’re gonna have the big line people saying, this isn’t worth it. I mean, we can do business in other places. We don’t need to be in California. And it’s taking place. It’s not just, if this were only one or two stories that we saw, we wouldn’t even be doing this story. But this is almost a weekly story, isn’t it?

Farron Cousins: Yeah. It is. And part of the issue too is we’ve gotta find out the root causes. Why is this suddenly happening? What is with all of this sudden retail theft here?

Mike Papantonio: Because they can, I mean, to me, because they can now.

Farron Cousins: Well, are the economic conditions for these people just so bad, to the point, have they been squeezed to the point where they feel this is the only option? Because we’ve talked, I mean, God, 10 years ago, the index, and I can’t remember the name of it. But it talked about how when a society hits a certain point of inequality it always leads to this kind of chaotic revolution, the increasing crime and all of that. And it makes me wonder, and I wish I could find that index again.

Mike Papantonio: Well, we did a couple stories on it. We interviewed some people on it. And in the end, it was a pretty convincing kind of argument.

Farron Cousins: They told us that and they said, we’re right on that cusp. And maybe we’ve hit it.

Mike Papantonio: Well, and we did the story last week where the billionaires, of course, are building their billionaire city right outside places like Emeryville. Right. And they’re gonna have their billionaire city built, the city on the hill and looking down in Emeryville and San Francisco and LA and saying, you know, y’all get by the best you can. We’re putting up our gates. And there could be that division. I don’t rule it out. I just think, my first inclination is they’re doing it because they can, because they can get away with it right now. At least at some point, somebody’s gotta, they’ve gotta look at some of the most deep rooted problems that are bringing this about.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.