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

San Francisco has problems like many cities, but the statistics don't support the claims many are putting online.

Lyanne Melendez Image
Thursday, April 6, 2023
Is SF's violent crime as 'horrific' as tech execs claim?
Is San Francisco's violent crime as "horrific" as Elon Musk and other tech execs claim after the stabbing death of Bob Lee? Here's what data shows.

BREAKING NEWS UPDATE: An arrest has been made in the San Francisco stabbing death of 43-year-old tech executive Bob Lee, according to ABC7 News contributor Phil Matier. He confirms information that Mission Local is reporting, that the man arrested appeared to have known Lee and it was not a random street crime. Get the latest updates here.

Following the stabbing death of Bob Lee, many tech industry executives have taken to social media to say that violent crime in San Francisco is horrific and the streets are unsafe. But is there any truth to that?

Tech executive Bob Lee was killed in Rincon Hill, an upscale San Francisco neighborhood. It's home to many young professionals.

According to the latest census, the median household income there is more than $244,000.

INTERACTIVE: Take a look at the ABC7 Neighborhood Safety Tracker

Lee's murder is the first reported homicide this year to take place within the Southern station of the police department.

Neighborhoods like the Tenderloin and the Bayview have had more homicides so far this year, yet that seems to go unnoticed among many San Franciscans.

RELATED: Man arrested in fatal stabbing of Bob Lee, appears to have known Cash App founder, source says

But that one statistic in Rincon Hill has some in the tech industry talking and posting, a lot.

VIDEO: Images detail last moments of Bob Lee's life after SF stabbing

Images detail the last moments of Cash App founder Bob Lee's life after fatal stabbing in San Francisco's Rincon Hill neighborhood.

Tesla's CEO Elon Musk tweeted, "Violent crime in SF is horrific...."

Many more executives criticized Mayor London Breed and city officials for creating in their words, unsafe streets.

"Congratulations, your policies have claimed another life," wrote another.

But is San Francisco really as dangerous as these tech executives claim?

RELATED: Bob Lee's case is high profile. What about other SF homicides?

Not according to the latest 2021 FBI and local police crime data as compiled in ABC7's Neighborhood Safety Tracker.

San Francisco is close to the bottom of the list of major cities, with 6.9 homicides per 100,000 people.

Austin, Los Angeles, Miami, Washington, Houston, Minneapolis, Oakland, Chicago, Atlanta, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Detroit and St. Louis had more reported homicides than San Francisco.

Supervisor Matt Dorsey represents the district where Lee was murdered.

"This is not a city where anybody should feel for their lives at 2:30 in the morning," expressed Dorsey.

ABC7 News dug even deeper.

The crime trends for the year as of April 2, 2023 have 12 homicides compared to 10 for that same period last year.

MORE: Here's why one of SF's top officers says crime is here to stay

The number of reported assault cases is up by 2% and robberies are up by 14%. But rape and human trafficking crimes are significantly down.

Statistics don't matter when it's somebody you love who has lost their lives in an incident in San Francisco," added Dorsey.

San Francisco has problems like many cities, but these numbers does not fit the narrative that some people are putting out there on social media. With that said, these statistics are not comforting to the family of any of the victim, whether they live in Rincon Hill or the Tenderloin.

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