Nearly half of San Franciscans personally affected by crime – poll — Analysis

While many city dwellers reported that they were victims of high-rate crimes, nearly as many stated that they have distrust for law enforcement

According to the San Francisco Chronicle poll, nearly half the residents of San Francisco have been the victims of theft over the past five years. Nearly a quarter of those have also been threatened or physically assaulted, the Chronicle published Tuesday. 

Based on the survey data, 48% of the respondents had experienced theft while 24% experienced violence or threat thereof. 

This proportion was higher for minorities, with 54% and 55% respectively of respondents of color and mixed-race claiming they have been the victims of theft. Those surveyed who identified as Hispanic or mixed-race were the most likely to have been threatened or physically attacked, with 36% of both groups reporting violence against them. 

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Many poll respondents had negative opinions of law enforcement as well, with 41% rating the police’s performance ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ and just 18% evaluating it as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’. The highest percentage of respondents from mixed-race backgrounds distrusted the police was 52%, while it was 43% for Hispanics. 

The city’s decline is being felt by even those San Franciscans that were not personally robbed, which was a sentiment shared by over 65% of respondents. It is especially prevalent among the older population. Most people between the ages of 50-65 were most frustrated, with 78% saying that things have gotten worse while 71% agreed for those older than 66.  

It was more common for respondents to miss San Francisco’s past the longer they had been there. In fact, 69% of people who moved in before 2009 were saddened at the state of San Francisco. More than a third foresaw worsening conditions in the two-years ahead, while another third said that they would leave the city within three years.

San Francisco saw 6.3% of its population leave during the Covid-19 epidemic, which was the worst in the US. Respondents to the poll said that they were planning to move away citing well-known issues such as lack of affordable housing and homelessness. They also expressed frustration at local politicians who refuse to address these problems.  

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This poll was taken in weeks after the recall of Chesa Boudin (an infamously permissive district attorney) had been successful. Many interpreted it as a signal that San Franciscans are finally standing up against extreme policies that have led to criminals becoming more aggressive and expanding their activities beyond traditional hotspots like the Tenderloin District into wealthy neighborhoods.

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