Property crimes leap higher across San Francisco

Crime statistics released by San Francisco police Wednesday show property crimes increased more than 17 percent in 2015 over the previous year, while violent crimes remained flat and gun violence declined.

The increase in property crimes was driven largely by a 21 percent increase in larceny and theft, and in particular by theft from vehicles, which saw a 31 percent increase over the previous year, police said.

Police officials today said that many major cities in California have experienced similar increases in theft from vehicles.

In response, police say they have launched targeted patrols in high-crime areas during the times when break-ins were most likely to occur.

At a hearing before the Board of Supervisors’ Public Safety and Neighborhood Service Committee last week called to discuss the rise in vehicle break-ins, police also said they had improved coordination with the district attorney’s office in the prosecution of thefts from vehicles.

The San Francisco Police Officers Association, along with many other law enforcement organizations, has blamed the increase in property crimes on Proposition 47, a 2014 state measure that reduces some nonviolent crimes to misdemeanors. Reform advocates including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Stanford Justice Advocacy Project have rejected the claim, saying the data does not support it.

The union has used the issue in an ongoing political battle with Gascon, releasing a public service announcement claming the district attorney, who backed the measure, is “handing out get out of jail free cards” for property crimes.

The crime statistics released today are from figures reported by San Francisco to the FBI as part of the Uniform Crime Reporting Program, which tracks major crimes including homicide, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft, larceny-theft and arson.