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Gov. Newsom Unveils Funding To Combat Retail Crime; Acknowledges Concerns Even As Stats Show Crime is Down

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- The governor was back in the Bay Area Friday, talking about crime, and he's not alone. Leaders around the area have been sounding alarms - as some point to overall crime numbers trending down.

"These organized retail mobs are expressing themselves in a way that has a profound impact on our feelings of safety," Gov. Gavin Newsom said Friday at the California Highway Patrol facility in Dublin.

Retail crime was Newsom's target Friday as he announced more plans to crack down on the eye-popping scenes that have been making headlines. The governor unveiled a plan to distribute $250 million in grants to help local jurisdictions curb organized retail theft and gun smuggling, while Attorney General Rob Bonta announced a new task force dedicated to prosecuting retail theft.

Raw Video: Gov. Newsom Announces Funding for Combating Retail Crime

And the governor said it, this is not about numbers.

"The last full year of analysis shows that property and larceny crime are down 11%," Newsom said. "Stats mean nothing in terms of your feelings."

"It's great for him to acknowledge that, that he's not responding to any kind of real dramatic shift and what's happening with crime," said University of San Francisco professor Kimberly Richman. "The public concern is what they are attending to, not how much the actual crime statistics and what's really going on. In general, crime is not up."

But concerns about crime aren't necessarily generalized. In San Francisco this week, Mayor London Breed lashed out - specifically - at drug dealing and the city's notoriously high number of car break-ins.

"Less tolerant of the bulls--t that has destroyed our city," Breed said Tuesday.

And in Oakland, several violent crime statistics are rising. After years of progress, 132 homicides is the highest number seen since 2006.

"Additional police staffing is needed in the week of this violence spree," Mayor Libby Schaaf said of the violence.

What crime looks like in Oakland is not what crime looks like in Walnut Creek - or San Francisco for that matter. All of these places are wrestling with their own problems. Crime, no matter what it looks like, is a conversation all over right now.


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