By Paige Laver
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – The COVID pandemic has changed and altered so many people’s lives, and its apparently influenced crime rates to reflect differences – some crimes rates are way down, some increased.
While the pandemic isn’t entirely responsible for these changes, but it may well play an important role in the decrease and increase different numerous crimes in San Francisco.
Politicians, like San Francisco District Attorney Boudin, have become advocates to change policies and create new ones that will benefit many communities during the pandemic – they may have solutions, and are not necessarily to be blamed for some increased crime rates.
According to a WBEZ Chicago news source, the city of Chicago had a spike of 50 percent in 2020 homicides and the Chicago police reported 750 more homicide deaths in comparison to 2019.
San Francisco homicides increased slightly but remained lower since the 1960s. Violent crime overall is down.
Where violent crimes seemed to not be as big of an issue, property crime rates plateaued and motor vehicle thefts were up 71 percent in the summer, an increase of 30 percent looking at the entire year, a dramatic increase and problem for many San Francisco residents according to SFist news.
The surge in property crime primarily had to do with which neighborhood San Francisco residents lived in.
In the financial district there was a decrease in motor vehicle theft because many residents moved out of the district; in fact, the neighborhood saw 10 times more households moving out from March 2020- November 2020 then within the same time period in 2019.
There was a surge in the wealthier neighborhoods, and one of the reasons for wealthier neighborhoods being targeted for crime is because many of these neighborhoods exist because of gentrification, which drove out many communities of color.
San Francisco is one of the most gentrified cities in the United States, and the coronavirus pandemic came at a hardship for many residents where many of them were already struggling before the city was put into shelter in place.
Violent crimes were not the only decreased rate of crime. There was a decreased rate of assaults, robberies, and larceny thefts as reported in the SF Chronicle.
Burglary spikes have been seen across all neighborhoods, with the Richmond district seeing a 370 percent spike in burglary, and the city itself has seen an increase of 40 percent of burglary theft, according to a recent article by the SF Chronicle.
Prior to the pandemic, burglaries and thefts would occur in the tourist parts of the city, it has changed to be in wealthier neighborhoods where residents live such as the Marina district and Haight Ashbury.
The problem with the property crimes in San Francisco is they don’t often get solved. Before the pandemic, the arrests for property crimes were at 11.5 percent, and in the pandemic it has decreased to 10 percent.
The crime rates in San Francisco are caused by many factors including mental illness, substance abuse, poverty, and economic declines.
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