SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – Crime worries are on the rise among Bay Area voters, according to the results of a recent poll, which also showed a majority not saying the region is safe.

According to the Bay Area Council poll, 63% of Bay Area residents said the region was safe just three years ago. Now only 47% think so.

Two-thirds of voters said they “avoid going to big city downtowns in the Bay Area because of crime.” This, while leaders such as San Francisco Mayor London Breed are trying to revitalize city centers and businesses devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nine-tenths of voters are concerned about car and home break-ins, 86% about violent crime, 83% about public drug use and 79% about panhandling.

There were “significant variations” on whether voters felt the region was safe depending on where they lived. Majorities in San Mateo, Marin, Sonoma and Santa Clara counties said the Bay Area was safe, including three-fifths of voters in San Mateo County.

Only a minority of San Francisco, Contra Costa, Alameda, Solano and Napa county voters agreed with that assessment. Only 33% of voters in Solano and Napa counties think the region is safe.

Alameda County voters were the most concerned about violent crime, with 93% expressing concern.

(Courtesy of the Bay Area Council)

“Fears about crime are a serious deterrent to getting people back onto transit and back into our downtowns and business districts,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “Bringing the hammer down on crime and ensuring public safety isn’t a debatable question, it’s a fundamental responsibility of local government and law enforcement. The deep concern reflected in these poll results should be a clarion call to our local leaders to do what’s necessary to make our cities, neighborhoods and transit systems safe for everyone.”

Voters said homelessness was the greatest problem facing the Bay Area, followed by housing costs, crime, inflation and traffic.

When giving reasons to move away from the Bay Area, cost of living was cited first, with almost half mentioning it. This was followed by crime, mentioned by one-fifth of respondents, housing costs, homelessness, and taxes being too high.

The council, founded in 1945, had the study completed through EMC Research, which conducted a survey from March 2-9. There were 1,000 respondents and there is a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1%. This survey has been conducted every year since 2014, though for the first three years it was of residents and not registered voters.