Jan 5, 2024 - News

San Francisco reports 48% slash in holiday property theft

Photo of people crowded around a sign that says "Winter Wonder-land in Union Square San Francisco"

People visit Union Square on Dec. 23, 2023, in San Francisco. Photo: Liu Guanguan/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images

San Francisco saw a significant drop in reported theft this past holiday season, according to new data from the mayor's office.

Driving the news: Between Nov. 20 and Jan. 1, the city recorded a 48% decrease in larceny theft, which includes retail thefts and auto break-ins, compared to the same time period in 2022.

  • There was also a 17% decrease in motor vehicle thefts and 26% decrease in burglaries.

Of note: In the same timespan, the city recorded increases in foot traffic in major retail areas like Union Square and Downtown.

  • That included a 58% increase in weekday transit riders exiting at Powell and Union Square/Market Street as well as an 11% increase in unique daily visitors to Union Square Park.
  • The Union Square Alliance estimates a generated financial boost in the tens of millions of dollars from the 10-day Winter Walk event alone, per the mayor's office.
  • Several nearby restaurants also reported a spike in business during Winter Walk.

The big picture: The findings come as local law enforcement continue efforts to disrupt break-ins and crack down on drug markets.

  • Visitors from outside the city "conveyed that our community's spirit and strong police presence contradicted the negative media portrayals," Marisa Rodriguez, CEO of the Union Square Alliance, said in a press release.

State of play: San Francisco police data shows the city experienced a 42% increase in car thefts between 2019 and 2022 despite an overall drop in crime.

What to watch: The city has vowed to maintain the drop in property crimes and plans to deploy 400 new automated license plate cameras while dispatching more patrol officers into neighborhoods by expanding the Reserve Police Officer Program.

  • New public safety laws this year will also enable the use of speed enforcement cameras in San Francisco, San José and Oakland as well as increased prison time for people convicted of dealing large amounts of fentanyl.
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