San Francisco saw a sharp increase in shootings in the first half of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020, and a slight uptick in aggravated assaults, the city’s police chief said Monday.
Police Chief Bill Scott said there were 119 shootings in the first half of the year, compared to 58 in 2020. The number includes both fatal and nonfatal shootings.
The increase in shootings in San Francisco follows a trend in many major cities throughout the country. Shootings are up from the same period last year in Chicago; Los Angeles; Minneapolis; Portland, Oregon; Baltimore; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Houston.
Scott pushed for more officers amid a national movement to cut police funding in the wake of George Floyd’s death. He said the San Francisco Police Department has a shortage of 400 officers.
San Francisco has also been garnering national attention for brazen daytime robberies at retail stores.
In a robbery caught on video last week at a Nieman Marcus in Union Square, 10 people went in, snatched designer purses and ran out to waiting cars.
That video followed another one of a man filling a garbage bag with items inside a San Francisco Walgreens as people recorded him with their cellphones.
“Videos drive perception,” Scott said. “When you see people getting robbed, when we see elderly victims in our city getting robbed, and those videos go viral, you think, ‘Oh, my goodness. Things are out of control.’”
Scott said research shows robberies go down when more officers are on the streets “because people are less likely to rob people when they see officers nearby.”
San Francisco Mayor London Breed promised last summer to cut $120 million from law enforcement. But the budget agreement reached between the mayor and the Board of Supervisors on June 30 increases the police budget over the next two years, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
On Monday, Breed did not address the issue of police funding but praised officers for their work.
“When you come to San Francisco and commit a crime, you will be arrested,” she said.
In the last six weeks, more officers have been reassigned to patrol the Mid-Market and Tenderloin neighborhoods, both magnets for drug dealers and drug users, and robberies have already decreased by about 38 percent, Scott said.
President Joe Biden on Monday met with Democratic city leaders to discuss ways of addressing the surge in shootings across the nation.
The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.
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