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14 Sep, 2022 15:46

Nearly half of San Franciscans personally affected by crime – poll

While city residents reported being victims at high rates, almost as many said they distrust law enforcement
Nearly half of San Franciscans personally affected by crime – poll

Nearly half of San Francisco residents have been victims of theft in the last five years, and nearly a quarter have been physically attacked or threatened, according to a poll published by the San Francisco Chronicle on Tuesday. 

According to the data, 45% of respondents have experienced theft and 24% have experienced violence or the threat of it. 

The proportion was even higher among minority populations, with 54% of black and 55% of mixed-race respondents saying they had experienced theft compared to 43% for white residents. 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. 

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’. Mixed-race respondents were most likely to distrust the police (52%), while the figure was lower but still elevated among Hispanic residents (43%). 

Even those San Franciscans who had not personally been attacked or robbed said the city was going downhill, an opinion shared by 65% of poll respondents and particularly prevalent among older residents. People aged 50 to 65 were the most fed up, with 78% saying things had gotten worse, while 71% of those 66 and older agreed.  

The longer respondents had lived in San Francisco, the more likely they were to long for its past: 69% of those who arrived before 2009 lamented what had become of the city. Over a third predicted things would get worse in the next two years, and another third said they planned to leave within the next three.

San Francisco experienced the largest population drop of any major US city during the Covid-19 pandemic, with 6.3% of its residents leaving during the year ending in July 2021. Poll respondents who said they planned to leave cited well-known problems, such as the lack of affordable housing, homelessness, and unchecked crime, as well as frustration with local politicians, who they feel refuse to do anything about it.  

The poll was conducted in the weeks following the successful recall of infamously lenient district attorney Chesa Boudin, a vote many interpreted as meaning that ultra-liberal San Franciscans were finally putting their foot down against radical policies that have seen criminals become much more brazen and expand their activities from traditional hotspots such as the Tenderloin district into wealthier neighborhoods.