Increased foot patrols in San Francisco led to ‘significant’ drop in assaults, thefts: study

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There’s been a “significant” drop in assaults and thefts in San Francisco, and it’s all because of an increase in police foot patrols, researchers say. 

A new study conducted by the California Policy Lab and researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, found that after the San Francisco Police Department doubled its foot patrols last year, it resulted in a significant reduction in larceny theft and assaults across the city and 10 police station districts. 

The following findings were noted: 

  • A 16.9 percent decline in larceny theft
  • A 19.1 percent reduction in assaults 
  • Greatest reduction in larceny thefts reported in Ingleside, Mission, Northern, and Richmond police districts 
  • Greatest reductions in assault reported in Bayview, Central, and Mission police districts 

In Sept. 2017, SFPD reassigned approximately 70 officers who had previously been working primarily in plainsclothes investigative and special duty assignments to citywide uniformed food patrol beats. 

These reassignments were in part a response to a rise in larceny theft, including vehicle break-ins, in San Francisco. 

In November, the expanded foot patrols were increased by nearly 50 percent, officials said, assigning a total 43 personnel to increase public safety in heavily trafficked areas. 

“Our foot patrol strategy is based upon deterrence and engagement with the community and would-be criminals,” said Police Chief William Scott. 

“The study suggests that a greater visible police presence helped reduce thefts and assaults in San Francisco in the two months following redeployment,” said Evan White, Executive Director of the California Police Lab. 

The findings from the report were presented on Nov. 30 at a policing and reform conference in Los Angeles. 

>> You can see more on the analysis and full study here. 

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