Crime Is Down From Pre-Pandemic Levels in San Francisco (and Other Cities)

Are there any trends in crime? It’s complicated. There has been much panic recently about the crime rate in San Francisco. Many of these fears were often stoked by politicians. Folks suggest that criminal justice reform measures—or mere demands for them—make America more dangerous. Liberal/progressive policies drive violence and social unrest. Police need to be paid more and government need to have more access.

But in San Francisco—and a number of other cities, large and small—crime is actually down from pre-pandemic levels. The crime statistics in San Francisco and elsewhere around the country are more varied than many people would like to believe. While some crimes have increased in the past year, others are down from previous years and 2019. Many places have seen an increase in homicides, while overall violent crime and/or other crimes are declining.

San Francisco’s latest statistics show that property crime and violent crime were both up 1 percentage point over the 2020 level. The crime rate for 2021 is still below the 2014-2019 crime rate.

From 2014 to 2019, there were between 56,000-633,000 property and violent crimes. reports that in 2021 there were 49.685 total crimes.

San Francisco’s rapes, robberies and murders in 2014 were their lowest levels since 2014. We had 204 reports of rapes last year. That’s a bit less than we saw in 2020. “We saw a substantial decrease between 2019 & 2020,” San Francisco Police chief Bill Scott told a conference. We ended the year with 2242 robberies. This was slightly less than the previous year.

Burglaries saw a 40 percent increase in 2019, but were down from 2020. Also, homicides increased from 2018 levels to 2019 levels, though they were the same in 2017 as in 2016, and were lower than in 2016.

In the Bay Area, “many cities—San Jose and Berkeley, for two—enjoyed a second consecutive year of decreases in property crime. Even those who have seen year-over-year growths, they are still not back at their pre-pandemic peak,” notes the report. The Mercury News. “Oakland saw a 7.5% increase in all property crime from 2020 but is still down 12.3% overall from 2019.…Even Walnut Creek—where a mid-November mass attack on a downtown Nordstrom reverberated nationwide—has seen property crime decline 9% from two years ago.”

This is all to say, that the story of an increase in crime is not true. It’s true not only for San Francisco; it also applies to other parts of the country.

Trends that are not mirrored elsewhere

Boston is seeing a decline in violent crimes and property crime.

According to WVXU, “Cincinnati crime has dropped 10 years,” this week.

According to the Charlotte government, overall crime fell by 5 percent.

Little Rock Police Chief Keith Humphrey said that violent crime in Arkansas is on the decline. This was announced late December.

News4Jax reported that violence is down in Jacksonville by 2021.

The number of homicides committed in San Antonio rose by 2021. However, overall crime fell.

In Amarillo, Texas, homicides were up—21 last year, 15 in 2020—but overall “violent crime decreased more than 10% in 2021 compared to 2020…The department also reported an 8% decrease in property crime in 2021.”

Los Angeles’ crime rate was lower in 2019 than 2020. Los Angeles had a total crime rate of 204,205 last year. This includes everything, vandalism, theft cars, and homicide. This is 4.9% more than in 2020 when several months were spent on lockdown. Crosstown says it’s still 5.4% less than in 2019.

Although crime declines are not common in all areas, they can be enough to make it difficult for panic-stricken criminals. The idea that America has a shoplifting crisis might be exaggerated.

Spiking anti-Asian hate crime? In other things-are-more-complicated-than-they-seem news, San Francisco is reporting a 567 percent spike in hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (a factoid that has garnered headlines across the country). London Breed of San Francisco says that preliminary data from 2017 shows 60 such victims. This figure is an increase from the nine in 2020.

However, more than half of these crimes—mostly vandalism and some robberies—were committed by one person. We see a decrease in anti-Asian hate-crimes overall and a greater number of single-person incidents.

“More that 30 of 60 were committed by one offender.” A person we arrested in August,” said Police Chief Scott. That person—36-year-old Derik Barreto—was arrested and charged with four counts of second-degree burglary, 27 counts of vandalism, 31 counts of hate crime enhancement, 31 counts of being armed in the commission of a felony, and four counts of possession of burglary tools.

Breed blamed San Francisco’s increase in anti-Asian crime on Trump’s rhetoric about China and COVID-19. There isn’t necessarily evidence to support this, as there have been previous spikes in hate crime attributed Trump. If it were, how come the numbers jumped in 2021 instead of 2020?

In 2021, there was a greater focus by San Francisco leaders as well as media outlets and the press across the country on anti-Asian hate crime. In San Francisco, for example, there was an organized push last year to make it easier to report hate crimes.

People have become more aware of hate crimes and anti-Asian hatred crimes. This explains why there has been an increase in anti Asian bias incidents. It also suggests that police and prosecutors are more likely to label things as hate crime than before.

(Check out my article for more information on anti-Asian hate crime and hype. ReasonIssue of October 20,21: “Do we really need new anti-Asian hate crime laws?”


Substack resists the calls to ban specific types of writers and content. Substack faces increasing pressure to ban content, which to some may seem dubious. However, the co-founders of the company write that their answer is the same. They say they make decisions based upon principles, not PR and will protect free speech. “We will also continue our non-interference approach to content moderation, as we have a policy of defending freedom of expression,” they wrote. While we do have some content guidelines to help us protect Substack at extremes, we’ll always consider censorship an option last resort. We believe that open discourse is better for authors and the society.


New Yorkers fight for legal advice by nonlawyers.Notably, “Rules of New York” prohibit the practice of law in New York as well in other states. Giving individualized advice about how to handle litigation is considered to be practicing law.” The New York Times. Upsolve, an organization that advocates for change in this area of the law is calling it a challenge.

On Tuesday, Upsolve took a step aimed at undoing the catch: It filed a lawsuit against the state attorney general’s office in federal court in Manhattan, arguing that barring nonlawyers from giving the kind of basic advice Upsolve would teach them to offer would violate the First Amendment….

Upsolve says a ruling in its favor would clear the way for thousands of lay professionals — social workers, clergy members, community organizers and the like — to help correct a gigantic imbalance in the legal playing field.


• Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer is retiring. Many are already speculating on who President Joe Biden will replace.

• Researchers have “identified biological factors that might help predict if a person will develop long Covid,” notes The New York Times.

• San Jose “voted Tuesday night to require gun owners to carry liability insurance in what’s believed to be the first measure of its kind in the United States,” the Associated Press reports.

• What homeschoolers knew before everyone else.

• ‘The typical U.S. home spent less than two weeks on the market in December, while home prices were up nearly 20% at the end of the month from a year earlier,” according to The Wall Street Journal. Redfin said that average U.S. rental prices rose by more than 30% year-over-year in December, a testimony to the unmet need.

• The Federal Trade Commission will vote today on “nutrition labels” for broadband internet service.

• More book banning:

• The case against masks at school.

• “Much of Biden’s first year has been a simple continuation of his predecessor’s wrongheaded approach to U.S. trade policy,” writes Scott Lincicome, examining how Biden’s first-year trade record holds up to expectations.

• “Jex Blackmore, a Detroit activist and artist…ingested a mail-order abortion pill during a live interview with Fox 2′s Charlie Langton on Sunday,” reports.

ReasonPeter Suderman of the University of Michigan has more information on our article on pre-K education funded by state. Roundup yesterday.

• More on the America COMPETES Act: