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'We Need To Turn Things Around' – 2021 San Francisco Crime Statistics Show Sharp Rise In Gun Violence

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – The pandemic shifted crime in San Francisco, but some of the trends are changing again. On Wednesday, Mayor London Breed and Police Chief Bill Scott revealed the final crime statistics from 2021, which included a sharp jump in gun violence.

"Gun violence contributed to the majority of our homicides," said Scott. "You look at the trends, and it really follows the homicide trends. Where you see a dip in 2018, 2019, and it starts to go back up in 2020 2021."

Gun violence in San Francisco rose more than 30% last year, and that helped drive a slight uptick in homicides as well. It mirrors a national trend that some have attributed to the pandemic.

"But we really don't have the evidence to point that out," Scott says. "What we do know is that this category of crime is going up and we need to turn it around."

Then there is property crime, where some pandemic trends seem to be reversing. Burglaries, such as garage break-ins, spiked dramatically in 2020, and dipped ever so slightly last year.

Larceny, however, took a sharp turn the other direction, an increase driven largely by a resurgence of car break-ins.

"When you compare 2021 to 2020, it was a significant increase in thefts," Scott said.

"From my perspective, this city has to do more," Mayor London Breed said following the statistics review.

Breed also said the numbers are not the whole story.

"Statistics really don't matter when you're a victim. And I think, and the end of the day, I am hearing more stories from more people about situations that they have experienced, that they are really blown away," the mayor went on to say.

Breed is asking for more money to cover the cost of a police overtime while the department is understaffed because of COVID-19 cases. But she also warned that the force has seen a 20% reduction in the number of officers since 2019.

"We need to make sure people in the city are safe," Breed said. "And a part of our public safety strategy does include police officers, and it is what it is."

It's not just the police with pandemic challenges. The mayor is asking for twice as much supplemental money for the fire department, also hit by COVID-19 staffing shortages.

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