Gascon: Violent crime in 2010 will be down 20 percent 

By this time next year, major crime in San Francisco will have decreased by 20 percent, if police Chief George Gascon has his way.

The self-styled CEO of the Police Department laid out his vision Friday for making The City safer in 2010. In addition to reducing crimes such as murder, robbery and rape by one-fifth this year, Gascon also promised to decrease crime on Muni and traffic collisions citywide by 10 percent.

The pledge may be all the more difficult to fulfill considering the department has to cut millions from its budget in the next fiscal year and the fact that crime in 2009 decreased dramatically for the first time in years.

Gascon said he will review the “scorecard” on a quarterly basis, taking the blame and making changes if his goals are not met.

“I am personally sticking my neck out there,” Gascon said.

Mayor Gavin Newsom and Gascon said the goals would not be easily obtained, however, unless community groups and residents get involved and help police.

“This is a first in many, many years and some would argue many decades … to set forth some goals, goals that I believe are eminently achievable,” Newsom said.

The department will soon have a better records-management system, more training for officers to de-escalate crises, fewer use-of-force complaints against police, and a more efficient crime lab, Gascon said.

Asked whether there was money to pay for it all, Gascon said he anticipated more federal funding for certain improvements, and by the end of the year, the establishment of a private, nonprofit foundation to raise funds for the department.

bbegin@sfexaminer.com

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