Almost Half San Francisco Residents Say They Were Victims of Crime in Past 5 Years

Nearly half of all San Francisco, California, residents say that they have been victims of crime in the past five years, according to a survey conducted by the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Chronicle reported Tuesday:

A sweeping poll commissioned by The Chronicle drew sobering results: Nearly half of respondents said they were victims of theft in the last five years, while roughly a quarter were physically attacked or threatened. The majority had negative impressions of law enforcement.

The SFNext poll asked a random sample of 1,653 city residents more than 90 questions about numerous aspects of life in San Francisco. It was conducted in late June and July, and respondents reflect the city’s demographics. More details on the survey’s methodology are available here.

Forty-five percent of people surveyed for the poll said they had an item stolen within the last five years. Proportionally, Black and mixed-race respondents felt a more severe impact than other groups, with a majority — 54% of Black respondents and 55% of mixed-race respondents — reporting they had suffered theft. Property crime rates were lower for white residents, 43% of whom had a possession swiped within the time period.

Critics of the poll suggest that it may have underreported crimes against Asian-American residents, who feel vulnerable lately.

It is difficult to compare the rate of reported crime victimization in San Francisco to national data. The National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) of the U.S. Census’s Bureau of Justice Statistics suggests that crime rates declined from the early 1990s to 2020, though they do not yet reflect the nationwide surge in crime that followed the anti-police riots of 2020.

Still, the survey matches anecdotal evidence from San Francisco residents, many of whom cite crime as reasons for leaving or wanting to leave the otherwise-beautiful city. San Francisco lost a higher share of its population (6.3%0 than any other U.S. city in the coronavirus pandemic, though that may also have been partly because of the prevalence of the tech industry and the advent of work-from-home. Voters recalled the local district attorney, left-wing radical Chesa Boudin, in a June election.

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