Violent, property crimes down in 2007

Despite having the highest homicide count in more than a decade, 2007 saw a significant decrease in other serious crimes, according to San Francisco Police Department data.

There were almost 200 fewer violent crimes — aggravated assault, homicide, rape and robbery — reported in 2007 over the previous year, according to a report presented Monday to the Board of Supervisors Public Safety Committee.

Last year’s total — 6,695 — however, is 8 percent higher from the 6,160 violent crimes counted in 2005. Property crimes, such as arson, burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft, dropped by 10 percent over the previous year total of 41,138 and the 2005 total of 40,955.

For the third straight year, reports of rape have gone down, with 178 being reported in 2007, compared to 203 and 212 in 2006 and 2005, respectively. Robberies decreased by about 3 percent from 2006, but up 12 percent from 2005. Aggravated assault is down a fraction over 2006, but up five percent from 2005.

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, chair of the committee, said after the meeting that the numbers do not tell the entire story.

“I’m cautiously delighted to see some improvements in category one [violent] crime,” he said. “However, those feelings are put in check after looking at our homicide and violence numbers.”

Of the 10 police districts in The City, only the Tenderloin saw an increase in property crime. The most significant drops were in the Ingleside, Park, Taraval, Mission and Northern stations.

There were more than 1,000 fewer burglaries reported citywide last year compared to 2005 and 2006, and there were significant decreases in motor vehicle theft for the third straight year. Mirkarimi said that he was concerned that the drops could also be the result of underreporting.

“There may be some indicators of progress in the problems that are vexing our communities, but it may be a little too soon to start patting ourselves on the back,” he said.

Mirkarimi said that with so many gun crimes in The City — 73 of the 98 homicides committed in 2007 were with a gun — there should be a better way to track the amount of shootings in San Francisco. Shot-spotting technology, automated shooting sensors also said to speed response times, should make it easier to keep accurate statistics, he said.

bbegin@examiner.com

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