Murder of tech exec Bob Lee raises concerns about SF's safety, but perception of city's crime varies

BySuzanne Phan KGO logo
Friday, April 14, 2023
Bob Lee's murder raises concerns, but perception of SF's crime varies
The murder of Cash App founder Bob Lee reignited a narrative among some people that San Francisco is a dangerous or crime-ridden city.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The murder of Cash App founder Bob Lee reignited a narrative among some people that San Francisco is a dangerous or crime-ridden city.

MORE: Entrepreneur arrested in murder of Bob Lee knew Cash App founder, police say

Property crime including car break-ins may be up. But FBI and police data show that violent crime is down in the city.

Whether you're visiting San Francisco for the first time or you've lived in the city for decades, there are many different perceptions of the "City by the Bay."

INTERACTIVE: Take a look at the ABC7 Neighborhood Safety Tracker

"The city has progressed a lot. We have a lot of technology. We also have a lot of people," said Angelica Mena who lives in Ingleside in San Francisco.

The high profile killing last week of lee raised questions and concerns about how safe it is to live and work in San Francisco.

"My mom was like, please don't go out please and I was like, I know my area. I know what I need to do," said Brenda Carroll, a Nob Hill resident in San Francisco.

Police are now revealing Lee's murder was not random violence.

MORE: Is SF's violent crime as 'horrific' as tech execs claim? Here's what data shows

"So I do understand, you know, how people see and view things. I see it. I read it. I live here just like you a lot of you all, but this has nothing to do with San Francisco. This has to do with human nature," said San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott.

The latest data on homicides from the FBI and local police compiled in the ABC7 Neighborhood Safety Tracker, shows San Francisco is close to the bottom of the list of major cities. Last year, there were 6.9 homicides per 100,000 residents. Thirteen major cities have more reported homicides than San Francisco.

"This data shows that St. Louis is the top of the list and San Francisco is bottom of the list when it comes to homicide. Does that change you perception of San Francisco?" I asked.

"Not mine," said Luca, a Mission District resident. "I'm not shocked at all. Like I said, there's not tons of violent crime here."

Some say property crime makes San Francisco look bad.

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Look at these numbers from the ABC7 Neighborhood Safety Tracker.

San Francisco is third from the top of the list with nearly 55,000 incidents per hundred-thousand residents.

"You can't leave your car anywhere. You'll get your window smashed out. But we love the city, so we stay," said Luca.

Chad Schmidt lives in Alameda and has worked in the city since the 90s. He said things have changed.

"I love San Francisco. But people come in and they're going to see what they see with their eyes," said Schmidt. "A lot of drug users, a lot of people on the street that are harassing people. I come across that myself. But I've come across that for a long time."

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