After high-crime spate, trends reverse

San Francisco’s crime rate continues to plummet — it’s down 9 percent so far this year — after some of the most deadly years in decades, police Chief George Gascón said Thursday.

From January through September, there was a 9 percent decrease in crime compared to last year and a 13 percent decrease compared to 2008, Gascón said. The City tracks 15 categories of crimes, such as homicide and robbery. Violent crime is down 4 percent compared to 2009.

Gascón said the decline is due to an effort to analyze where crime will occur through the Police Department’s million-dollar CompStat system. By analyzing trends through computers and problem-solving meetings, police are dispatched to hot spots before incidents occur.

“Fighting crime requires that you remain flexible and that you look at the various factors that influence crime,” Gascón said.

The decrease fits a national trend in big cities such as New York, Dallas and Los Angeles, where homicide rates hit their lowest marks since the 1960s. In San Francisco, there were 45 homicides in 2009, the lowest total in 50 years, and 2010 appears to be on pace for a similar total.

The chief was flanked by Mayor Gavin Newsom and District Attorney Kamala Harris, who are both running for state office, in a City Hall conference room. All three emphasized the importance of continuing to allow the police chief full authority to deploy officers — a veiled shot at Proposition M, which would mandate police foot patrols in The City.

“I want to encourage everyone to support his leadership and his ability … to know what is in the best interests of public safety when he makes decisions about how the resources of the Police Department will be used,” Harris said.

“Let’s not allow politics to enter into those decisions,” Newsom said.

Newsom praised Gascón for making such positive gains against crime with so few resources. The decrease comes despite a drastic cutback in overtime, the equivalent of 150 officers, and the prospect of 78 officers retiring by next year.

bbegin@sfexaminer.com

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

BART study: Ending paper tickets would ‘disproportionately’ impact low-income riders, people of color

When BART eventually eliminates its magnetic-stripe paper tickets from use, it will… Continue reading

Police efforts to stem 49ers revelry in Mission District spark backlash

SFPD preparing for potential bonfires, vandalism on Super Bowl Sunday

First transitional housing project for homeless transgender residents opens in Chinatown

Project gives gender non-conforming a safe, supportive space to rebuild their lives

SF e-scooters burst into flames in Golden Gate Park, ex-contractor reveals

Photographs obtained Wednesday by the San Francisco Examiner show the charred remains of at least two Skip e-scooters

SF politico who authored vape ban takes money from JUUL lobbyist, returns it after media call

Supervisor Shamann Walton made national news after he proverbially smoked e-cigarette company… Continue reading

Most Read