Overall crime down in S.F. despite homicide rise

Despite a six-day spread of violence that resulted in 10 killings last week, city officials said law enforcement efforts in some areas are working, pointing to decreasing overall crime statistics in areas other than homicides.

“If you look at the statistics, you can see we’ve made a lot of progress,” Mayor Gavin Newsom told The Examiner on Monday, during a discussion about a new violence prevention plan created for The City by UC San Francisco.

During a presentation Monday before the Board of Supervisors’ Public Safety Committee, those statistics were also touted by the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice: While homicides are up 24.6 percent from this time last year, so-called “part one” crimes, which include homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny/theft, auto theft and arson are down overall, according to The City’s data.

The office pointed to statistics that show that, between January and June, the total number of reported part one crimes fell from 22,133 during the same time period last year to 18,664 this year. However, there have been 81 homicides to date this year, up from 65 at the same time last year.

According to the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, seven killings were the result of domestic and family violence this year, compared with five in 2006. The office reported that 17 homicides were due to drugs this year, compared with 13 last year. But gang violence was down, the officials said, attributed in 13 killings this year, compared with 25 last year.

In addition to shifting motives, methods of homicide are changing. In 2007, 17 people were killed by knives or other sharp instruments, San Francisco police Capt. Kevin Cashman reported. He compared that with eight such victims in 2006 and three in 2005.

Newsom acknowledged, however, that while crime is down in some areas, that “there are certain communities that are being ravaged by crime and violence.”

“The African-American crime rate is unacceptably high, the homicide rate in this city, generically, is unacceptably high, violent crime — while going down — is unacceptably high,” Newsom said, pointing down at the 56-page study done on violence prevention. “That’s why we’re doing this.”

amartin@examiner.com

beslinger@examiner.com

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