San Francisco’s mayor and police chief say their city is getting a bad rap from viral videos of brazen and sometimes violent crimes.
They unveiled the city’s crime stats for the first half of this year Monday, and some of the numbers might surprise you.
“There’s no statistic for our outlook and what it perceived about what’s happening in our city,” said San Francisco Police Department Chief William Scott.
Perception’s a real concern and San Francisco's police chief and mayor say it's not fair.
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“What’s not being brought to the forefront is that in almost every single instance, our police department has arrested many of these people,” said Mayor London Breed.
An East Bay man said he follows crime in the city on apps, because he works there and believes the sheer number of crimes have gone way up, especially car break-ins.
“I mean this year alone, I’ve seen so many car break-ins, it’s pathetic,” said Nathan Hill. “I even tried to chase a guy.”
But city leaders contend -- their stats show car break-ins are actually down in 2021 compared to the past five years. So are robberies, along with assaults.
But gun violence is up, 119 crimes with guns in the first half of 2021 -- by far the most in six years and more than double 2019, right before the pandemic began.
And San Francisco's police chief says officers are finding more homemade, unregistered ghost guns than ever before. The numbers are up “exponentially."
“They’re dangerous. They’re unregulated,” said Chief Scott. “They’re untraceable, and they’re a problem for our city.”
The gun violence along with videos of other crimes are certainly a concern for visitors.
“But we kind of had the talk with the kids about noticing your environment and your surroundings,” said Connie Tong of Los Angeles.
The city is trying to reassure families, like the Tongs, that San Francisco's safe and they’re re-deploying patrols along Fisherman’s Wharf and other popular tourist spots - something not going unnoticed.
“We’ve felt like there’s been more police surveillance in the area,” said Tong. “We’ve seen more police officers.”
But the police chief says he’s short 400 officers, so the city is relying on overtime to saturate trouble spots.
“When you come to San Francisco and commit a crime, you will be arrested by this police department,” said Breed.
Putting would-be criminals on notice as much as trying to ease the minds of residents and visitors.