This week, several retail organizations, including the California Retailers Association, put the blame on the skyrocketing crime rates in the city on District Attorney Chesa Boudin.
Since being sworn in as District Attorney in 2020, Boudin has made reducing the incarcerated population one of his main goals. However, soon after Boudin enacted policies in which he refused to prosecute many “lighter” crimes, crime rates shot up across the city, with burglaries alone going up by 46% in 2020. News stories quickly sprung up all over San Francisco of criminals being brought in by police, Boudin and his team refusing to prosecute them, with the now released criminal going out to do an even more heinous crime. Some of these releases even brought about murder, with one non-prosecuted release resulting in two people killed.
Criminals have even gotten more daring. With in the last week, criminals even launched a daring daylight robbery of a Neiman Marcus in central San Francisco, making out with many designer purses, and leaving a Boudin-restrained police force from having the resources to get them.
“Boudin has made it clear that he is willing to prosecute us but not the people we bring in for things like robbery,” explained one anonymous San Francisco police officer to the Globe. “We hate this. He never said it, and he probably doesn’t think it, but it seems like he’s more in support of the rights of criminals than the rights of officers.
“So yeah, when you see on the news about these robberies, it shows just how much Boudin has restrained us. We brought in so many people just to see them walk away. So you can see why a lot of us are jaded by this.”
This increase in crime, largely against retail establishments only just fully reopening in the past few months, has sparked many to speak out against DA Boudin. In particular, store owners who have had to resort to closing early to deter crime, including large chains such as Target, have been the most vocal.
“Unfortunately this issue has been around for a while,” said President of the California Retailers Association Rachel Michelin on Wednesday. “Now we’re starting to see real consequences, which is stores closing early, stores locking their doors and really, an environment where it seems as if there are no repercussions for these types of behavior for these criminals doing these types of thefts.”
“The answer really lies, I think partially, with the district attorney and the fact that he’s made it clear he will not prosecute many of these crimes. When people hear that, they look at San Francisco and think they can commit these crimes and there will not be any consequences for their behavior.”
“We need to roll up our sleeves and find a strategy to benefit the residents of San Francisco and businesses that are there. The answer is not what the mayor said last week, which was retailers just need to hire more security guards. That’s not going to solve the problem. Security guards are there to observe and report. They’re not there to stop crime. That’s law enforcement. We have to figure out a way in San Francisco for law enforcement and local officials to work together.”
Boudin gets blame for massive crime rate increases in San Francisco
“It’s either stay open and get robbed, close early and lose business, or shut down for good,” said San Francisco store owner Jenny Kim to the Globe on Thursday. “Boudin and [San Francisco Mayor London] Breed have left us with no good options. We’re all angry and frustrated.”
And the anger over Boudin’s policies only get worse among victims and families of victims.
“Reducing incarceration does have benefits,” explained Joe Rodriguez, a former sheriff’s deputy who now works as a crime victim advocate, to the Globe on Thursday. “Let’s be truthful here. It does reduce a burden on the taxpayer and it does give some people a second chance. But, with Boudin, it was a massive gamble that didn’t pay off. He just stopped prosecutions across the board, and it’s been nothing but trouble since he got in.”
“There is a massive feeling that Boudin cannot make objective decisions and acts like if Saul Goodman was DA rather than, say, an Atticus Finch. A big reason is because both of his parents are big time criminals. He’s the son of David Gilbert and Kathy Boudin, both of whom were members of the Weather Underground terrorist group in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. In particular, his parents were both played direct parts in the 1981 Brink’s robbery. 3 people were killed during that, with Chesa’s mom getting 20 years and his dad getting 75 to life. Kathy Boudin was only a getaway driver, but his dad was jailed for killing police officers trying to stop the robbery. With both in jail, Chesa was then raised by two other Weather Underground members. And remember, the Weather Underground bombed the U.S. Capitol building, bombed the Pentagon, and nearly killed Dustin Hoffman. And he was raised by these people.”
“And now the kid raised by terrorists is DA, and it shows. He has no regard for victims or victims families. The cases I’ve had in San Francisco, someone in each case, each recent case, seems to be mad at Boudin. And I can’t blame them. He says this is progress, but I dare him to tell that to a parent whose child was killed by someone released under his decarceration program. I dare him.”
As of Thursday, Boudin has given no indication of any change of policies to help San Francisco stores combat the new crime wave.
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