By Cheri Mossburg, Josh Campbell and Brad Parks | CNN
The death of CashApp founder Bob Lee has sparked comments perpetuating the idea that San Francisco is dangerous and crime-riddled, but data shows that violent crime — especially homicide — is far below that of many other cities of a similar size.
George Tita, a criminal justice professor at the University of California, Irvine, believes the perception has more to do with the profile of those involved in certain crimes than with the actual data.
“If a very high-profile tech gets killed, it just gets more publicity than if it were an impoverished person in a neighborhood of color,” Tita said. “It’s just low-hanging fruit. Nobody wants to look at real statistics. Most of the states and counties with the highest level of crime statistics are in red states versus blue states.
Lee died after a stabbing in the Rincon Hill area of the city. Police officers responded to reports of a stabbing early Tuesday morning, one said statement from the San Francisco Police Department. They found “a 43-year-old adult male victim with obvious stab wounds.”
“Officers rendered assistance and called medics to the scene,” the police statement said. “The victim was transported to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries. Despite efforts by first responders and medical personnel, the victim succumbed to his injuries.”
San Francisco recorded 56 homicides each in 2022 and 2021, more than 36% more than in 2019, when there were 41 homicides, according to data from the police. Despite the increase, San Francisco’s homicide rate is far below that of other cities of similar size. according to data from the Major Cities Police Chiefs Association.
For example, Indianapolis witnessed 271 homicides in 2021 and 226 in 2022. Jacksonville, Florida, meanwhile, saw 129 homicides in 2021 and 154 in 2022, while 204 homicides occurred in Columbus, Ohio, in 2021 and 140 in 2022.
Violent crimes in San Francisco, including murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault, peaked in 2013 with 7,164 violent crimes, according to Data from the California Department of Justice. But they have declined significantly in recent years. According to data from the Major Cities Police Chiefs Association, San Francisco now falls in the lower middle of the pack when compared to several cities with similar populations.
However, property crimes in San Francisco tell a different story, as seen in several eye-catching videos. While still well below 2017 levels, the city saw a 23% increase in property crimes between 2020 and 2022, with spikes in burglary and theft emerging, according to data from the San Francisco Police Department.
“People who believe that housing is bad, that crime is always there, believe that based on their worldview and dogmas and not facts,” Tita said. “All we can do is provide unbiased, carefully curated data. At the end of the day, there are people who don’t care about the facts.”
San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott indicated that homicides fell before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, but rose in subsequent months, reflecting a nationwide trend. CNN affiliate KPIX reported.
“If you[look]at San Francisco’s violent crime rate compared to other cities per 100,000[in population]we’re on the lower end for major cities,” Scott told KPIX. “That is never talked about.
“We have our problems with our city,” he continued. “We have some things that we definitely need to keep working on. We have these images going viral and being posted all over the world about drug use and homelessness. These are real problems in our city, and we are tackling them too. But violent crime? We are not that city.”
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