Mayor Ed Lee, police Chief Greg Suhr say violent crime in San Francisco down 

Violent crime in The City continued to decline in the first half of the year, dropping 6 percent, Mayor Ed Lee and police Chief Greg Suhr announced Wednesday.

Lee cited the “historic lows” at a news conference with Suhr at police headquarters. In addition to the 6 percent drop from 2010, violent crime is down 17 percent since 2008, they said.

Both Lee and Suhr — whom Lee appointed chief in April — were in lock-step in their remarks about increased cooperation between police, city departments and the community at a time when budget cuts have meant fewer officers.

Lee also announced an initiative to send 50 children at risk of being recruited into gangs to a weeklong camp to give them positive alternatives.

“It’s all about the young people in San Francisco,” Suhr said. “If we engage kids, if we give them positive choices, there’s hope in the neighborhoods.”

Homicides in particular have declined steeply.

San Francisco police reported 88 homicides in 2004, 96 in 2005, 86 in 2006, 100 in 2007 and 98 in 2008, according to FBI and police statistics. But in the past three years, homicides have declined to levels not seen since the 1960s, with 45 in 2009, 50 in 2010 and 30 so far this year.

Paul Henderson, deputy chief of staff for the mayor, said Suhr and representatives from the Mayor’s Office have been engaged in regular meetings with Bayview residents and community groups in recent weeks to foster better relations with police in an area “with a history of being disenfranchised.”

The meetings have followed a disastrous public outing last month in which Suhr was shouted down by a handful of Bayview residents angered by the fatal police shooting of a young man in the district.

aburack@sfexaminer.com

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