During the weekend, the San Francisco Police Association said that 120 officers would be placed on administrative leave due to not wanting the COVID-19 vaccine. As they have no immediate replacements, and with the SFPD currently sitting at around 1,900 officers, the city essentially lost roughly 6% of their officers overnight. And this is amid a huge staffing shortage where experts say that the current amount of active officers should be close to 2,200.
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Also during the weekend, San Francisco Mayor London Breed responded to the recent retail closures in the city by saying that they were not closing due to crime. However, as the Globe pointed out, Walgreens had specifically noted they were and that unreported thefts due to numerous state and city laws discouraging reporting of thefts over $950 had severely lowered how many were officially reported.
Even with numerous more laws in place, crime is still rising in the city. As many citizens and retail groups have noted, the actions of San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, namely his refusal to prosecute most criminals in the city and a rise in prosecutions against police officers, have made many in the city terrified of rising crime.
“Every single week it seems that everyone in power in the city just does not want to help us,” said Frank Ma, a former law enforcement official who now works as a security advisor for businesses in San Francisco and cities in the Peninsula, to the Globe on Monday. “The last couple of years have been the most serious. Before, especially over a decade ago, most people would ask about better locks or the best kind of security camera. Now I have customers asking me about if they can keep guard dogs inside their businesses overnight or help in obtaining the right gun and permits.”
“And these just aren’t traditional stores either. A vegan ice cream place recently asked my son about what gun would be best to deter robbers. And this week a non-profit charity, one who gives meals to the poor mind you, asked about upgrading their security system because they had seen more robberies.”
“As bad as it is being reported, it’s actually worse out there because of so many going unreported to the police. And why are most going unreported? Because those who are stealing from stores are not getting prosecuted unless the amount being stolen is above $950. And criminals know this, because many have been taking just under the amount. It’s like criminals being deterred from stealing or laundering money by banks by having to specially report deposits of over $10,000 or casinos reporting that amount for bets. You’re good if you come in under. It’s the same here now for thefts. Reporting of smaller thefts do happen, but generally it’s not worth the time.”
SF crime continues to rise with many smaller crimes not being reported
Robberies have also become more daring, happening at times and places, and against certain people, where they were unlikely before. This included a daring daylight robbery of a Neiman Marcus in July, a reporter getting mugged while reporting on car thefts in March, and celebrity TikTok singer Clinton Kane recently being robbed at gunpoint in the city.
“We’re sick of it honestly,” said “Ramon,” an SFPD officer who wished to remain anonymous, in a Globe interview. “This happens surprisingly often. We go to to someplace that called in a robbery or another crime and they mention this being “the 4th time this year” or something like that. When we look it up, we see this is the 1st time they reported it, and when we bring it up, they say they didn’t do it the first 3 times because they knew someone either wouldn’t come out or nothing would be done. Sometimes it may take hours to get to someone if it’s not an immediate emergency or threat.”
“And now with over 100 officers gone, we are being stretched even more. No one seems to want to admit that they are at fault or anything like that. We’re doing the best we can under the circumstances, but it only goes so far when other parts of the government don’t want to follow through on it. We can arrest a guy, but then maybe they won’t prosecute or we release for time served or something.”
“Our motto is ‘Oro en Paz, Fierro en Guerra,’ which means ‘Gold in Peace, Iron in War.’ We still strive to serve by that, but lately it seems like that is now limited.”
While more and more local backlash has been yielding some results, such as increased community watch measures starting to deter crime independently and leaders being more scrutinized, such as DA Boudin going through several impeachment attempts, the city largely remains in denial of the current escalating crime.
“The city has to stop saying ‘everything is fine,'” added Ma. “Los Angeles, San Diego, even Oakland. When something goes wrong, very wrong, they’ll take drastic action. A lot of cities have cracked down on crime and have been actively recruiting more officers. LA took a huge step against homelessness recently in a way most people thought they would never do. Oakland is adding a new police academy despite many community members not being in favor of it. They may not admit making mistakes, but they’ll still correct them. I’s usually due to public pressure, but still, they’ll d it.”
“The public wants change here. They want less crime. But it is just not happening. The city has done a few things recently to try and stop the massive amount of retail theft, which just the other day the Mayor said is not happening. There are even proposals to pay people not to commit crimes. But there is no punishment, even though that’s what the city needs. They’re trying everything except the most common sense solution.”
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