San Francisco Violent Crime Summary 2011-2013

According to a City Analyst’s just released report, despite the fact that the rate of violent crime in San Francisco has been climbing since 2011, increasing from 677 violent crimes per 100,000 residents in 2011 to 850 crimes per 100,000 residents in 2013, driven primarily by an increase in robberies followed by increases in aggravated assaults and forcible rapes, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors has not been briefed on crime in San Francisco since February 2013. If you are wrongly accused in an assault charge, you might want to get in touch with a lawyer who may be able to help you out.

And while the City’s budget for violence prevention programs has increased by 23 percent over the past five years and will total over $47 million in Fiscal Year 2014-15, “the City does not have a coordinated planning process or efficient way to measure program performance,” nor does it even have a standard definition of what constitutes violence prevention, according to the report.

The recommendation: “[Establish] a citywide advisory and coordinating body for violence prevention programs.” And perhaps require that the City’s Board of Supervisors be formally briefed on crime in the city more frequently than every couple of years.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Booger

    How much did the population grow during this time frame?

  2. Posted by Zig

    Why would a per capita crime rate have relevance to population increase?

    • Posted by kbbl

      I think you mean “be an excuse for” — of course changing demographics could affect crime. Just like changing demographics should affect policing, transit policy, and everything else a city government should is theoretically responsible for.

    • Posted by BTinSF

      Unless the size of San Francisco has increased (it hasn’t), more population means more density and we know that more density (like cramming ore rats into a cage) increases anti-social behavior–not always and there certainly are exceptions, but more often than not.

      • Posted by anon

        I agree with that. The micro-units aren’t helping matters either. The exceptions may be Hong Kong and Tokyo, both high density cities with far less crime than one would expect. Hong Kong does not allow gun ownership so people need to resort to hand to hand combat, knifes, sticks, etc. in order to kill each other. Also the city has public cameras on every street corner to monitor and deter crime. For example, drivers of an armored truck failed to properly secure the doors leaving cash on a highway. Many bystanders and drivers stopped to pick up the “free” cash, only to be recorded by CCTV. Government officials stepped in and asked the money to be returned because it is a crime otherwise. Most of the money was returned. As for Tokyo, it is more cultural. Japanese have mastered the art of tranquility, etiquette, efficiency, and harmony (even in economic recessions.) There are strict and often unspoken customs you adhere to as part of the social contract.

        In SF, you have diversity and differing cultural and social norms. Yes, you can choose to do and say whatever the heck you want but the social fabric will easily tear, being already fragile to begin with.

        I am sorry to hear about what happened in Cameroon as well as Nigeria.

  3. Posted by Hola

    And we have supervisors like Campos who want less policing in his district. He is a disgrace.

  4. Posted by Mike

    Umm, it’s mid-January 2015 – why don’t we have 2014 figures??

  5. Posted by Jackson

    Hola is correct. Campos panders with a lot of hot air regarding the well-known problem of Latino gang rivalry killings and the black-ops anarchists who attack local businesses.

    Gentrification can’t come soon enough to make the Mission safer.

    • Posted by Frank

      Yes wouldnt want to have to look at the riff raff whilst strolling around the quaint streets from cocktail bar to cocktail bar, with maybe the short jaunt into a local coffee establishment. Disgraceful, with their ‘taquerias’, markets with fruit displayed on the sidewalks like animals! How long must I wait until they have been displaced!

      • Posted by Blorence

        I think Jackson was talking about “riff raff,” not local merchants. Funny how you see them as one and the same.

      • Posted by Fishchum

        Way to completely miss Jackson’s point, Frank.

      • Posted by Hola

        I don’t mind looking at the ‘riff raff’ as you say. I just don’t want a gun shoved in my face.

  6. Posted by Jake

    These are crime rates per resident. They are not adjusted for the large non-resident population of SF. There has been a significant increase in the number of people commuting to SF to work in the past few years. For example, an iphone stolen from a resident of Alameda while at lunch near their job in SF is counted in these stats.

    It would be more meaningful if the crime stats were normalized to the average number of people in the city.

    This memo itself is focused on justifying the funding of various city agencies.

    • Posted by jwb

      Actually I don’t think SF’s daytime population is all that much larger than it ever was. Census estimated it at 945k in 2000, and at 951k in 2010.

      • Posted by Jake

        SF’s workplace population is up more than 6% from 2011 to 2013 (from 614,748 to 653,091, per US Census ACS one-year estimates). Don’t know about the change in tourists.

        SF’s workforce population dipped and then came back up between 2000 and 2010. Regardless, this data is for 2011 vs 2013.

        Chief Suhr has been quoted before about how much of this is smart phone theft. Supposedly the new law will make that less lucrative.

    • Posted by rabbits

      I attended a Castro-area community meeting last year at which Chief Suhr, the DA, and Scott Wiener were there. Make no mistake, they are all keenly aware of this issue, but the Chief and DA alluded to the fact that most, if not all, of this spike is attributed to smart phone theft. I’d love to see this specific offense broken out of the data, if it is possible at all to do that.

      • Posted by RobBob

        Pardon my ignorance but how is the increase in forcible rape attributable to smart phone theft?

  7. Posted by DontfeartheREpa

    Is there any consensus as to what is the main reason behind these increases?

    • Posted by DontfeartheREpa

      Replying to my own comment. That’s a fair point about the smart phone theft.

      It’s not just that there’s more phones to steal. People basically spending all time on their phones while walking alone, even at night, is so common now. That doesn’t just mean they are dangling candy, they are disengaged and unaware of their surroundings and in no position to spot possible danger.

      People do seem incredibly more smart phoned these days, but much less street smarted.

      • Posted by Transit101

        Crime on Muni is down if you exclude smart phone thefts. It is a pretty big problem, and I’ve known a few people personally who have had their phones snatched.

        Muni launched a campaign to educate the riding public, but I still see people sitting next to the rear doors, phone or laptop out, which is a crook’s favorite place to attempt a punch, grab, and run.

    • Posted by Spencer

      People are raping smart phones?

      • Posted by DontfeartheREpa

        Sadly, incessant phone use may have been a factor in some of the victims having their guard down, and less aware of their surrounding etc.

        I remember Fluj on here 7 or 8 years ago saying he was worried about the trend for women going jogging around the Mission with IPods on etc. Smart phones is that problem x10.

      • Posted by jack

        With the way smart phones these days are dressed, well….

        (Sorry, Friday afternoon levity that certainly will be construed as me tolerating ignorant victim-blamers.)

      • Posted by SFrentier

        No silly, smart phones are raping people. There’s an app for that.

  8. Posted by cfb

    One thing to note is that the SFPD doesn’t keep proper aggravated assault stats, as they themselves admitted in 2009. More specifically, they don’t count aggravated assaults related to domestic violence in the total, which reduces the total violent crime rate by about 20% on any given year. So SF’s violent crime rate is more likely closer to 1,000 right now, rather than 850. And for the record, this was barely reported on by the media at the time. The only articles I ever found on it were in the examiner (now gone), and the SF weekly, and both were little more than a couple paragraphs long. They also quoted then-chief George Gascon saying that he thought other crime categories were getting reported wrong too. And how do I know they’re still doing it? The aggravated assault rate never spiked upwards in the stats released after 2009, as would be expected if the SFPD finally started counting everything…instead the rate dropped. The funny thing is that after they admitted this, they did revise the aggravated assault stats upwards on their own website, for the year 2008 (an increase of well over 1,000 incidents)…but only for that year, despite the fact they’d been doctoring the stats since at least 2005. And then they apparently went back to submitting doctored stats on subsequent years. So take SFPD stats with a grain of salt, is what I’m saying.

  9. Posted by JR "Bob" Dobbs

    As for “causes,” I think rabbits is probably correct that smart-phone nabbing accounts for a substantial portion of the uptick in robberies, and possibly the assaults as well as crooks punch a person then steal their phone.

    The numbers for the really serious crimes are low, so it would be pretty hard to attribute a “cause” as random variations are as likely a cause as anything.

    Some other developments in recent years that may have an impact relate to big changes at the Department of Corrections due to court decisions. No longer are parole violators routinely thrown back into prison. Non-violent offenders are not sent to prison at all, but to county jails, and sentences are shorter. Broad reports have concluded those are not responsible for any material crime rate increases, but they are at least possible explanations.

    I’m certainly not freaking out by this – the numbers are still low. Only thing I’ve changed is telling my daughter not to mindlessly tap away on her iPhone while on Muni or the sidewalk. But with new phone “kill switch” requirements, I’ve heard anecdotally that the smart phone crime uptick has now started to be reversed as there is little point to stealing an electronic brick.

  10. Posted by Bill

    Jane Kim and her “assistant” Sunny support criminals over taxpayers. Sunny is anti capitalist, anti prison, pro homeless and twice known as provable fact has encouraged crimes to pursue her long time agenda with detailed instructions to squatters on how to attempt to seize properties, she further has encouraged criminals to submit false reports (lie) to the federal government to pursue her hateful anti capitalist agenda, Kim and this awful Sunny should have been tarred, feathered and booted out not reelected.

  11. Posted by Blabber Girl

    Damn techies and their violent crime.

  12. Posted by Spencer

    I would like to institute public caning, reopen Alcatraz and institute the 2 strikes policy. Lock up anyone who committe violent crime

  13. Posted by MoneyMan

    I just know that home burglaries are way, way up, as I learned through my own experience.

  14. Posted by sunsetfan

    As somebody who works in SF court’s system, I can assure you that the MAJORITY of the non-drug felony cases I see on a daily basis is cell phone related. It’s been that way for many years now. I’ve worked with the courts for 17 years and it’s amazing to see how cell phone crime has taken over the courts. In the juvenile courts it’s THE crime that we deal with with kids. Just one act of cell phone theft could have multiple counts and charges. Because there are so many types of charges that flow from stealing a cell phone, I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what ticking the numbers upwards. That is, if that’s how they’re being counted in the statistics.

    • Posted by anon

      The “kill switch” should have been implemented years ago like Australia. But in the U.S., tech companies want to make its money from having people buy new phones everytime it gets stolen than actually protecting people from crime. Then the consumers themselves get caught up in being glued to their phones. Endless cycle of mindlessness. There should be an educational mandate requiring each college graduate to have a gap year (one year abroad) to work and live in a third world poverty stricken nation to understand what is considered a priority.

  15. Posted by anon

    I read in the news that Saudi Arabia recently beheaded a Burmese Muslim woman publicly for killing her husband’s six year old daughter. She was found guilty for beating and raping the child with a broomstick before the child died. Capital punishment, like beheadings, is carried out publicly to send a message to the rest of population. Likewise, in Indonesia, a group of foreigners (Brazilian, UK, Netherlands, etc.) were found guilty for drug
    trafficking and executed (despite vocal protests by the Brazilian president.)

    Each culture makes their own priorities in life, and accept both the price and consequences for its action. Yes, there is truth to the adage that sometimes you need to sacrifice one to save a thousand.

    I don’t know at what point in life people stop listening and learning from other cultures and dig themselves in a hole. San Francisco has ignored for far too long what it considered “nuisance crimes” ie. graffiti/vandalism, petty thefts and crime, until it gets out of hand and by then control is lost. Yes, we are a tolerant city until the city pushes its residents out with its ill conceived laws and policies.

    • Posted by NoeValleyJim

      You must have recently moved here. Crime was much worse in the 80s and 90s, including nuisance crimes.

  16. Posted by Not Bashing

    Yes…beheadings here would help. Especially for those hippies in Dolores park who refuse to wear deodorant.

    • Posted by anon

      So silly. I ran into Jeff Adachi this afternoon. He was wearing a “I am a suspect” t-shirt. So provocative I said. Laughs all around. He knew my prior employer and mentor. Small world indeed. I am reminded to be good and remember what I have been taught.

  17. Posted by jeff

    I am now completely convinced that they are fudging the numbers. I have lived at Divisadero and Turk for last fourteen years and I just saw a listing for a neighbors unit that will sell for at least $1m (listed at $850). During that fourteen years we have witnessed/heard the sound of six homicides, and countless muggings, within one block of our door. Trulia/Redfin/Zillow all list the nieghborhood as “low” crime and make no mention of these homicides. All black kids BTW, so I guess it begs the question, do black lives matter when it comes to San Francisco real estate?

  18. Posted by Lance

    Jeff, I’m going to go a bit off topic here, but you struck a nerve. it is too bad about having so many muggings and homocides within a block of where you live. That really is too bad. Wtih that said, black lives do matter, and I could make the argument that they matter more — if your goal is really seeing less crime. What you are alluding to is a complicated subject that has been perpetuated through years of racism (real and imagined), lack of education, lousy “role models”, and a host of other things. If you really want to make a dent in crime, you have to do something about elevating the mentality of the criminals. I would argue that creating more growth opportunties, jobs, and wealth (real property, businesses, etc) is the perfect way to do that.

    This is my opinion on the matter, but I’m arguably biased.

    Signed,

    Lance – SF property owner and one of those black lives you were talking about

  19. Posted by Brian M

    How are we going to do that, Lance? The current economic model, which San Francisco is an epicenter of, is to replace people and local businesses with automation and centralized call centers. Instead of 1000 bookstores (with a cashier and an owner invested in the community) one Amazon.

    People are “surplus”. It’s like the liberal mantra “Education. Education will solve everything.” Not everyone can be a computer programer…and besides a Romanian or Indian will do that job far more cheaply anyway.

    So…it sounds good to say this, and I am not disagreeing, but the reality is that things will continue to go downhill.

    Isn’t it ironic that our betters have now decided that pot should be legal? A soporific drug that enfeebles people just before the next big crash hits.

    • Posted by medalist

      Tons of ways to freelance now in this economy . Uber, task rabbit, etc. Trouble is you have to be self motivated.

  20. Posted by medalist

    In the last 7 years there this is the only time I have really not felt safe walking around and even in my own home in the Inner Mission. The police presence is nonexistent and their service is extremely poor. Ever try to call the police over a minor crime? They never show up, and if they do it’s hours later. I have absolutely no faith in them. The criminals know this too, the small crimes go virtually unpunished and it looks like it’s emboldening the harder criminals into muggings and worse. Get your self a good home security system, cameras, and a shotgun, it’s probably not going to get better anytime soon.

    • Posted by Moto mayhem

      We need an uber for private security . Replace the cops with on time quality performace

      • Posted by Bob

        We DON’T need an Uber anything! The 1099 serfdom based economy, where wealthy white (and some Asian) Silicon Valley investors, get rich off of the cheap labor of others, is truly going to break the once upwardly mobile American dream. A country without a stable, financially strong middle class, will continue to see declines in it’s quality of life. Stop buying into the notion that “Ubering” everything is good for everyone, it’s as misguided as trickle down economic theory.

        • Posted by medalist

          How exactly is the on-demand economy going to erode further the middle class? It’s simply matching those with money and no-time to those with no-money and time. It’s delivering labor and services in an unconventional and perhaps to some, socially disparate way, but I bet there are many Uber drivers that would rather make $25/hr on their own schedule than in an office for Pepsi cola for 30 years. The on-demand economy is making entrepreneurs out of everyone, which isn’t that the American dream?

          • Posted by Bob

            None of these arguments are based on real numbers. American wages, income and wealth continue to erode, those are facts. The adage, the rich get richer, the middle shrinks, and the poor grow in numbers, is completely accurate.

            Subsistence wages, derived from the “on demand” economy (sounds sexy I know), with no benefits, no retirement, and no real wealth accumulation, coupled with excessive debt and a continuously increasing cost of living, plus decreased government investment in infrastructure and future development is all good for investors, low cost = greater profit, but not good for society. This is not the post WWII future that built a strong America.

            Calling someone an “entrepreneur” does not automatically put them in a line that leads to wealth, or even stability, and future opportunities for their offspring. The best example is the restaurant industry, for every NOPA or State Bird Provisions, there are 100 who barely scratch by. Just ask yourself if you want to live in India, Mexico, or some other stratified society, not exactly the quality of life that any of us want. BTW I outsource white collar jobs to India, globalism is great for investors, but it is not helping us, no matter what the boosters tell you.

          • Posted by Jake

            The secret to the Uber economy is wealth inequality (article at namelink).

            Master-servant or on-demand economy is structured to optimize the time and effort of the master at the expense of the servant. Whenever you are stuck in what seems like a long wait for a service, you know that the time of the resource providing the service is more highly valued. You sit in a ‘waiting room’ for your doctor. You wait for a MUNI bus. Taxis and uber cars are already queued nearby waiting to be dispatched to you. My car is waiting for me now.

        • Posted by moto mayhem

          doesnt uber employ and pay drivers who are middle class? im thinking on demand private security would do the same. dont a lot of middle class people work at uber HQ as well?

          if anything, on demand economy can lift the middle class with more on=demand jobs

          • Posted by Jimmy The House Flipper

            My driver the other day told me that if he works hard at it he’ll make $80 per 8-10 hour shift driving UberX net of gas and other costs. That’s not remotely close to middle class. But I love the service and use it wherever and whenever I can.

  21. Posted by anon

    If this were at all scientific, it would be treated as a random sample in a normalization, with margin for error. I’d be more interested in the extent to which this increase is statistically significant.

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