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SF’s Car Break-ins Decline; Gun Violence Rises

The proliferation of ‘ghost guns’ are contributing the rise in gun violence
By - posted 7/14/2021 No Comment

By Daniel Montes, Bay City News

San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott and Mayor London Breed on Monday announced the mid-year crime statistics, showing that since mid-2019 auto break-ins are down while gun violence and homicides are up.

According to the data, homicides mid-year in 2019 were the lowest in 58 years with just 20, but homicides mid-year in 2020 increased to 22. This year, so far, 26 homicides have occurred.

Gun violence also rose, with the number of shooting victims, both fatal and non-fatal, mid-year at 119. That’s more than double the 58 shooting victims recorded mid-year in both 2019 and 2020.

Although car break-ins mid-year saw a slight increase with 8,524 reported so far, compared to 7,853 at this time last year, overall car break-ins are on the decline when compared to 11,391 reported mid-year in 2019, the data show.

Other areas that saw mid-year increases were burglaries, with 3,717 reported in 2021, compared to 3,510 in 2020 and 2,443 in 2019; and auto thefts with 2,864 so far this year, compared to 2,728 in 2020 and 2,130 in 2019.

Aggravated assaults are down from 2019. In 2019, 1,193 aggravated assaults occurred compared to 1,092 so far this year and 1,049 last year mid-year.

Areas that saw mid-year decreases include rape cases, with 88 reported so far this year, compared to 111 in 2020 and 202 in 2019; robberies with 1,123 reported in this year, compared to 1,269 in 2020 and 1,383 in 2019; and theft cases with 12,738 reported this year so far, compared to 14,001 cases in 2020 and 18,766 cases in 2019.

Breed said with the $65 million she’s invested in this year’s budget for public safety, she’s hoping a network of strategies, including street crime prevention, victim services, wellness teams and street crisis response teams, will help bring the crime numbers down.

“All of these things are a part of our network of trying to address public safety. It’s not just about funding the police or defunding the police. It’s not just about funding one program over another, it’s about a comprehensive strategy to make sure that the right investments are being made,” she said.

“There’s a lot of misinformation out there about what’s happening in San Francisco. We know that numbers don’t matter when you’re the victim of a crime, any crime in any capacity, but at the end of the day we have to use this data to make a decision about our policies and our investments,” she said.

In regard to the uptick in homicides and gun violence, Scott said his department is collaborating with organizations like the California Partnership for Safe Communities to address the root causes of violence happening within communities.

But he said, the proliferation of ghost guns, which can be ordered online and easily assembled without a serial number, continues to play a role in the rise in gun violence.

“We have to get a handle on this,” he said. “The number of illegal ghost guns that we have confiscated over the past four years… has increased exponentially.” Scott added that while the Police Department continues to face staffing issues, with the department currently short some 400 officers, the department is stepping-up recruitment efforts. “It’s going to take time and we have to be patient, but we can’t let that be the excuse for not doing what we need to do,” he said.

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