Here's a closer look at what SF needs to do to combat crime

Dion Lim Image
Sunday, December 10, 2023
Here's a closer look at what SF needs to do to combat crime
Crime has turned is one of the big issues facing San Francisco with the widespread perception it is out of control.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Crime has turned is one of the big issues facing San Francisco with the widespread perception it is out of control.

But, do the numbers really support that?

During our Take Action San Francisco live event on Monday--city leaders addressed this issue.

ABC7 news anchor Dion Lim found some members of the community who came away feeling they didn't get the answers they wanted.

ABC7's Take Action town hall discussion on crime kicked off with a stark visual:

"Show of hands, how many of you have been broke into? Your business? Your home? Your car? Raise your hand," asked ABC7 News anchor Reggie Aqui.

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Nearly every single person in the audience of about 200 raised their hands.

According to city polling, San Franciscans give the city a "C plus" grade for overall feelings of -- the lowest grade since 1996.

Police Chief Bill Scott weighed in on how to improve that figure.

"I think we're already on our way," he said.

"We made an announcement in August about some new strategies and we have reduces car break-ins to now 50%. Year to date, we're down 18%. So, we're at 18,000 which is a lot of victims. In 2018, we ended at 31,000 so I do think we're moving in the right direction," the chief added.

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Despite break-ins being down compared to pre-pandemic levels, the chief did acknowledge that fewer people are reporting some crimes. Just this week, there was a string of car break-ins in Hayes Valley early Monday morning.

In the hours after - the San Francisco Police Department confirmed to ABC7 no one filed a police report immediately after the windows were smashed.

When it comes to retail thefts- the president of the Castro Merchants, Masood Samereie, raised concern about a recent incident at Cliff's Variety.

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"The person who stole the item turned back to officers and said "this is only $750, you can't do anything to me." Mayor Breed, what is it you're going to do next year, or going to show these thieves that they can't just steal from small businesses and get away from it?," asked a business owner.

Mayor London Breed responded by first touting how retail crime numbers are down. Though, the city does not keep track of retail crime data.

Breed then addressed criminal justice reform programs- and accountability.

"All of what we're seeing has everything to do with making sure there's accountability and our district attorney is filing charges in many of those cases," she said.

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Surveillance video shows thieves breaking into more than 10 cars in San Francisco's Hayes Valley neighborhood early Monday morning.

As I have reported, Asian Americans community has seen an increase in crime targeting the community.

AAPI organizations appreciated being invited to participate in the audience.

"The solution requires all of us, not just our three leaders," one person said.

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In a city that's nearly 40% Asian, some audience members felt more could have been done to address the concerns of this population.

"In San Francisco, as the population makes up nearly 40% of the city, I found it a little troubling and disheartening there wasn't any specific mention of partnership or programs dedicated to support of the AAPI community of San Francisco. Especially our elderly community," said Sean Nguyen with Stand with Asian Americans Operations lead.

"I've spoken to many nonprofit leaders in the Tenderloin who work with Asian American communities and they tell me the same sentiment that Asian American elders, Vietnamese, Chinese elders, etc. are afraid to leave their homes or go outside because they're experiencing these crimes and harassment," Nguyen said.

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However, all audience members I spoke with agreed: this discussion was just the beginning.

"I thought we needed more time. An hour on homelessness, an hour on crime, an hour on fentanyl. These are all important to our city," said Chris Richardson, Chief Program Officer for Downtown Streets Team.

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