ANALYSIS: Violent crime in San Francisco down but some popular neighborhoods see uptick

SAN FRANCISO (KGO) -- The good news is that violent crime is down in most of San Francisco so far in 2017, however; ABC7 News' partners at Hoodline uncovered data showing a slight increase in violent crime in parts of the city, including some popular hotspots.

"They hit me," said Castro District resident Rob Cox. "They took a swing at me, hit me on the back of my head."

Cox has been living in the Castro for 25 years and says he's noticed increasingly violent crimes taking place in his neighborhood. He says he was jumped in 2016 and robbed this past Christmas.

"There's been an uptick in confrontations between people at night time and during the day," said Cox, who is with the Eureka Valley Neighborhood Association.

On Monday night, he says a crowd ran after a man who stole someone's laptop at a nearby coffee shop and then tried to get away in an SUV.

"They surrounded the SUV to hold the SUV until the police got there," Cox added. "But the SUV hit one of the pedestrians trying to hold him there, not only that but they kind of moved forward and hit another pedestrian across the street."

MORE ANALYSIS: Why empty storefronts line San Francisco's Castro neighborhood

Using crime data from the City of San Francisco, our partners at Hoodline
determined that violent crime is actually flat or down in more than 60 percent of San Francisco neighborhoods, as indicated by the areas in green on the map below for the first two months of 2017, compared to 2016.
This map provided by our partners at Hoodline indicates change in violent crimes per month in San Francisco.

This map provided by our partners at Hoodline indicates change in violent crimes per month in San Francisco.

Red and orange areas indicate where crime is increasing in the city.

The Castro, along with the Panhandle, Duboce Triangle, The Haight, and Alamo Square -- all just east of Golden Gate Park, are seeing the biggest increase in violent crime in all of San Francisco for the first two months of the year compared to 2016.

The Castro has gone from an average of about 16 violent incidents per month in 2016 up to 22 violent incidents per month in 2017.

Violent crime in the Panhandle has gone up from about four to 11 incidents, Duboce Triangle is up from 11 to 15 incidents per month. Violent crime in The Haight, which is Haight-Ashbury and Lower Haight, has increased from about nine to 12 violent incidents and Alamo Square has increased from three to five incidents.
This map provided by our partners at Hoodline indicates the average amount of violent crimes per month by neighborhood in San Francisco.

This map provided by our partners at Hoodline indicates the average amount of violent crimes per month by neighborhood in San Francisco.

"We've had a couple more robberies and aggravated assaults," said Lt. Michael Serujo, who helps oversee San Francisco's park district. He agrees with the data -- that violent crime is trending slightly higher in their neighborhoods.

When asked what he thinks is happening Serujo said, "A lot more homeless people out on the street, a lot more people with altered mental status, whether it's from just psychiatric issues or drugs out on the street."

On Jan. 23, on Fell Street near Masonic in the Panhandle, someone shot a 24-year-old man on his grandmother's porch.

On Feb. 11 at Alvord Lake near Haight and Stanyan streets two suspects, now under arrest, attacked a teenage boy with his own skateboard. The victim was beaten so badly that he was sent to the hospital in life-threatening condition.

Fortunately, both victims are recovering.

SFPD inspectors tell ABC7 News none of the suspects in either case, are homeless and that the skateboard attack was over drugs.

"Haight and Stanyan has always been, for the last 50 years anyway, a nexus for people who want to come and experience some part of San Francisco they believe still exists and so it attracts a certain element," said Serujo.

Hoodline Community Editor Walter Thompson has lived in The Haight for nearly 10 years. He has noticed more homeless people in the area but does not believe homeless are necessarily the reason behind more violent crime.

Thompson does say that drugs and "Haight Ashbury" culture play a big role near Golden Gate Park and that police only have the resources and power to do so much when it comes to crime prevention.

"What I've come to understand is that police have really limited resources as far as what they can do to put an officer some place to avoid something and when they put an officer some place, that problem usually moves a few blocks away," Thompson told ABC7 News. "And so there's a certain element of wack-a-mole that I perceive as a resident and a journalist, that the problem seems kind of intractable."

"As far as the officers are concerned, they feel like they have their hands tied because they can only do so much," said Serujo. "So the residents, I feel for them."

Serujo does say that non-violent property crimes in the park District are down this year. He credits an initiative to take officers out of their squad cars and put more of them on foot patrols in the neighborhoods.
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