SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — The stabbing death of Silicon Valley entrepreneur Bob Lee had many in the tech world questioning San Francisco’s approach toward violent crime. Among them, Twitter owner Elon Musk, venture capitalist Matt Ocko and MobileCoin founder Joshua Goldbard.
“Many people I know have been severely assaulted. Violent crime in SF is horrific and even if attackers are caught, they are often released immediately. Is the city taking stronger action to incarcerate repeat violent offenders,” Elon Musk tweeted calling on San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins to take action.
“Chesa Boudin, & the criminal-loving city council that enabled him & a lawless SF for years, have Bob’s literal blood on their hands. Take action,” Ocko tweeted.
“As a lifelong Bay Area resident, I have more questions than answers tonight. I don’t know how to fix what’s wrong, but I know something isn’t working in our grey city,” Goldbard said.
But is it really that bad? Here’s what the numbers say.
Violent crime statistics in San Francisco
San Francisco’s violent crime rate ranked 14th out of 23 cities with populations over 750,000 in the U.S. in 2020, according to reporting in the San Francisco Chronicle. That’s lower than Dallas, Seattle, New York and Phoenix, among other cities, and slightly higher than Miami.
According to data ranking site HomeSnacks, the violent crime rate in San Francisco is 110.5 percent higher than the national average and about 91 percent higher than California’s average.
The San Francisco Police Officer’s Association said violent crime has seen a 7.5-percent increase over the past three years–since 2020. It also said property crime has increased 20 percent since 2020 as well as homicides by 17 percent from 2020 to 2021.
Data from the San Francisco Police Department dating back to 2017 shows violent crime is on the rise since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when violent crime saw a 22-percent decrease nationwide but is down overall about 18 percent from 2017 to 2022. The data shows a dip in crime during the pandemic–from 2019 to 2021–with violent crime rising about 8 percent from 2020 to 2022.
Violent crime includes homicide, rape, robbery, assault and human trafficking, according to SFPD. Data shows homicides and assault have reached pre-pandemic levels as of 2022 while rape, robbery and human trafficking are significantly down.
“We do not tolerate these horrific acts of violence.” –DA Brooke Jenkins
San Francisco police are investigating Lee’s death as a homicide. No arrests have been made yet.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed, District Attorney Jenkins and City Supervisor Matt Dorsey expressed condolences to Lee’s loved ones and vowed to bring “justice for this senseless act of violence,” Jenkins said. “We do not tolerate these horrific acts of violence in San Francisco,” she added.
Mayor Breed said the city is prioritizing public safety “including recently passing our budget supplemental so we have the police staffing necessary to have more police officers in our neighborhoods and to investigate violent crimes when they do occur.”
If you have any information about this incident, you are asked to contact the SFPD 24-hour tip line at 415-575-4444. You can also text a tip to TIP411 to begin messaging with SFPD.