Some residents of San Francisco are so fed up with having their property broken into and items stolen that they have hired a private security firm to patrol their streets at night.
A number of residents in the misgoverned city’s Marina District told KPIX-TV that their beachfront neighborhood has seen a rash of burglaries and car break-ins in recent months. In response, they’re paying a police-commissioned Patrol Special Officer named Alan Byard to check in on them throughout the night.
A woman in the neighborhood identified as Katie Lyons told the outlet that alarms and cameras have failed to deter criminals — many of whom have been seen breaking into cars in broad daylight — and that hiring private security was out of necessity.
“We don’t feel safe in our neighborhood,” Lyons said. “And we have an alarm, we have cameras on our property, but we want the extra security of having someone have eyes on our place.”
KPIX obtained video of some of the brazen, daylight car break-ins and other crimes — which Lyons said have gotten worse recently.
“Especially at night, I don’t walk with a purse, I’ll drive, or I’ll take an Uber, and it’s beginning to become a daytime problem too,” Lyons said.
Lyons and roughly 150 other clients in the Marina District are using Byard, who told KPIX he’s staying busy.
“It’s a nice area down here, people are afraid of what’s been going on,” Byard told the outlet. “They want a safe place to raise their kids. In the last year, I’ve had 10 of my clients move out of the city.”
Byard charges each client $65 per month, and he makes his rounds from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Lyons and other desperate residents have hired Byard amid a crime wave in the city that has already chased a number of Walgreens stores out of the city this year. The company announced last week that it is closing five more stores in the city, according to local news site SF Gate.
Walgreens has closed at least 10 stores in the city since 2019, SF Gate reported.
But crime isn’t just occurring at drug stores and along oceanfront property. It’s happening seemingly everywhere in San Francisco. KPIX reported earlier this year that nervous citizens in the city were reported burglaries and other property crimes with an alarming frequency.
Some people who spoke to the CBS affiliate said they had made the decision to leave the city, which did cut some funding for police last year during a rush by urban Democrats to “defund” the police.
KGO-TV reported that, under controversial Mayor London Breed, San Francisco in July 2020 cut funding for the police and sheriff’s departments totaling roughly $120 million. The money pulled from law enforcement was said to be reallocated to minority communities.
“With this budget, we are listening to the community and prioritizing investments in the African American community around housing, mental health and wellness, workforce development, economic justice, education, advocacy and accountability,” Breed said in a statement.
(Breed, it’s worth noting, doesn’t have to pay for her own, private security. According to a July report in Forbes, the city spent $12.4 million on security for Breed between 2015 and 2020. Breed was a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors before taking over the mayor’s job in 2018.)
The experiment hasn’t helped residents of all colors who are now dealing with rampant crime. Such crime has risen across California, but has hit San Francisco particularly hard.
In 2014, Californians passed Proposition 47, which reclassified some thefts, including violent ones, from felonies to misdemeanors — so long as what was stolen was worth less than $950.
In a column published by the New York Post in June, Hannah Meyers, director of the policing and public safety initiative for the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank, reported that state’s rate of property crime went from below the national average to above the national avenge. In 2019, San Francisco alone saw its rate of petty crime rate double that of the rest of the state, Meyers wrote.
Meanwhile, the city is so tolerant of drug use that amid the coronavirus pandemic, it was home to a program that provided alcoholics and drugs addicts with booze, drugs and hotel rooms in the name of “harm reduction.”
Put together factors like that and there’s not just a crime wave, it’s a crime tsunami.
It’s safe to say that liberal policies of incentivizing theft and then demonizing police officers haven’t worked out for San Francisco and its law-abiding residents. Sadly, many of them are not only out of pocket for items damaged or stolen by the city’s emboldened criminals. Some of them are also paying out of pocket for their own private security.
A recent poll by Joint Venture Silicon Valley found that 56 percent of San Francisco Bay area residents reported having thoughts about moving.
It’s not hard to see why, when residents are so threatened by crime that they have to hire private security because they can’t depend on their own police.
CORRECTION, Oct. 22, 2021: This post originally misstated the first name of Hannah Meyers, director of the policing and public-safety initiative at the Manhattan Institute.
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