San Francisco sees increase in shootings and aggravated assaults | WIVT
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – San Francisco has seen an increase in shootings in the first half of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020, and a slight increase in aggravated assaults like those seen in viral videos that have gained national attention, the city police chief said Monday.
But thefts from retail businesses have declined despite the brazen thefts filmed, Police Chief Bill Scott said.
Scott said there were 119 shootings in the first half of the year, up from 58 in 2020. The number includes both fatal and non-fatal shootings.
“We’re almost double what we were in the past two years, and that’s a huge concern,” Scott said.
The increase in shootings in San Francisco follows a trend in many major cities across the country. Filming is up from the same time last year in Chicago; Los Angeles; Minneapolis; Portland, Oregon; Baltimore; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Houston.
President Joe Biden met with Democratic city leaders on Monday to discuss ways to deal with the upsurge in shootings across the country. Biden is limited to what he can do at the federal level, but he has pledged to support efforts at the local level to fight crime.
To help combat the increase in gun violence in San Francisco, the police department is building relationships with community members and partnering with the California Partnerships for Safe Communities, a coalition of organizations that identify people who are at risk of becoming a victim or perpetrator of a crime. and who work with families to prevent crime, Scott said.
But with some cities in the national limelight for a spike in shootings, San Francisco has gained national attention for brutal attacks on Asians and brazen daytime robberies from retail stores.
In May, two elderly Asian women were stabbed while waiting for a bus in downtown San Francisco and the attack was filmed. It was the latest in a series of attacks on Asian Americans in the city and across the country since the pandemic began last year.
In a heist filmed last week in a Nieman Marcus in Union Square, 10 people entered, snatched designer handbags and rushed to waiting cars.
This video followed another of a man filling a trash bag with items inside a San Francisco Walgreens as people recorded it with their cell phones.
“Videos stimulate perception,” Scott said. “When you see people being robbed, when we see elderly victims in our town being robbed, and these videos go viral, you think, ‘Oh, my God. Things are out of control.
The chief used the press conference to call for more officers as part of a nationwide move to cut police funding in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. He said the San Francisco Police Department was short of 400 officers.
Scott said research shows thefts decrease 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 pledged last summer to reallocate $ 120 million from law enforcement to the black community. But the budget deal reached between the mayor and the supervisory board on June 30 increases the police budget over the next two years to account for salary increases, hires to maintain manpower and new equipment, reported the San Francisco Chronicle.
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 past six weeks, more officers have been reassigned to patrol the Mid-Market and Tenderloin neighborhoods, both magnets for drug dealers and drug users, and thefts have already declined by around 38% Scott said.
Thefts have been declining in the city since 2018, when there were 1,553 thefts in the first half of the year. By comparison, there have been 1,123 reported robberies in the same period this year, Scott said.