Magnus Lofstrom PhD is one of those sophisticated intellectuals that has mastered such a breadth and depth of knowledge, but with such a casual and unassuming manner, I was immediately impressed and more than a little envious. In this fascinating interview, I chat with him about his longstanding work in public policy and specifically on the ‘crime wave’ affecting the country and in particular California. Follow home robberies, shoplifting, and theft as well as the violence on the streets have commandeered national attention and our doom scrolling as more cellphone footage of criminal acts spread rapidly online. He breaks down the truth from the propaganda on what’s really happening to public safety in America.

In this interview, Magnus and I discuss that public safety has been at the forefront of criminal justice reforms in recent years in California. These reforms seek to find alternatives to incarceration that are safe and aimed at rehabilitation, rather than just punishment. He says that it has been difficult to say which factor is most responsible for this increase because all of these factors were happening at the same time. The research was conducted by him and he suggests that while the impact of the pandemic on crime rates may have been localized in some cases, the broad trends exhibited across the United States are mirrored in California. Changes in policing and criminal justice policies during and after the pandemic may not have had a significant impact on crime rates, as previous levels of incarceration were still insufficient to address the problem. To learn more about Magnus and alternative strategies to incarceration must be identified if California hopes to reduce its reliance on imprisonment and maintain public safety, listeners can visit his website at PPIC!

Key Highlights:

[00:01 – 04:56] – Opening segment

Dr. Rusha introduces Magnus Lofstrom PhD!

California has been at the forefront of criminal justice reforms that seek to find alternatives to incarceration

[04:57 – 15:29] – Addressing The Issue On Persistent Crime Rates Despite Reform

The decrease in California’s incarcerated population is due to a multitude of factors, including crises serving as accelerators

COVID has had a significant impact on crime rates, with gun-related homicides increasing the most

There are many factors contributing to changes in crime rates over the past two years

The crime rate in California has been consistent throughout the nation and across different types of crimes

The trends seen in California are similar to what has been seen elsewhere in the United States

Reducing reliance on incarceration has had a limited impact on crimes rates

Recruitment and retention of law enforcement staff is challenging

[15:30 – 43:19] – Better Policing Is An Effective Strategy For Risk Mitigation

There are many challenges with addressing mental health and substance use, homelessness, and violent crime in California

The criminal justice system is not the right place to address these issues, and more effective community reentry programs are needed

Violent crime rates have not increased dramatically in recent years, but they are still high and there is no clear indication that they will decrease in the near future

It is difficult to identify any one factor that is driving the increase in crime rates

When discussing public safety, it is important to have a more judicious approach, as it is difficult to know what is driving the increase

The State has made significant justice reforms in the past decade, which may be contributing to the increase in crime rates

[43:20 – 55:24] – Closing Segment

Magnus believes suggests that changes in law enforcement personnel, recruitment issues, and tension between communities of color are also impacting crime rates.

Listeners are invited to visit!

Connect with Magnus Lofstrom PhD at his:

Website: PPIC

Website: IZA

LinkedIn: Magnus Lofstrom PhD 


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Tweetable Quotes:

Magnus Lofstrom PhD – “Whatever we think are key contributing factors to these changes, we need to look for things that are taking place throughout the nation.”

Magnus Lofstrom PhD – “When we are talking about these changes, what you really would like to have is a very clear and direct answer. What’s driving it so we can address that.”

Dr. Rusha Modi – “Reintegration is really a challenge for not just people who were incarcerated, but for a lot of dispossessed and underserved communities just in the country, and it highlights that social inequality.”

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