Apr 16, 2024 - News

Homicides in San Francisco decline

Change in year-to-date reported homicides in U.S. cities, 2023 to 2024
Data: AH Datalytics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The number of homicides in major American cities, including San Francisco, is falling after huge jumps during the pandemic.

Why it matters: The nation is on pace to see one of the most significant declines in violent crimes and homicides since President Obama was in office.

State of play: There were nine reported homicides in San Francisco during the first three months of 2024, compared to 13 in the same period in 2023, according to AH Datalytics, a criminal justice consulting firm.

  • That's a 31% decrease.
  • Most homicides in the city are driven by gun violence, San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) spokesperson Evan Sernoffsky told Axios.
  • San Francisco had a total of 54 reported homicides in 2023.

What they're saying: The pandemic-era surge in homicides was the city's first "real increase in over 10 years in shootings and homicides," Sernoffsky said. "It had been precipitously declining for over a decade before that point."

  • In 2022, the department launched its Violence Reduction Initiative with community partners to spearhead prevention efforts, which include implementing data-driven strategies to identify and provide resources — such as case management services — to individuals at the highest risk of engaging in or falling victim to violence.
  • "We have a better buy-in from the community now than we have had in years," Sernoffsky added.

The big picture: The percentage of homicides in 204 cities declined by nearly 20% during the first three months of 2024 compared to the same period last year, per AH Datalytics.

  • At this pace, the homicide rate in the U.S. could match its level in 2014, when many cities saw 30-year lows in violent crime and homicides.
  • FBI data and numbers from police agencies show that crime has been steadily declining since the pandemic spike.
  • AH Datalytics calculated its data using the latest available crime numbers from local and state sources.

Reality check: Some cities saw homicide increases in the first three months of 2024 compared to last year, including Los Angeles.

Between the lines: Polls show crime is a top concern ahead of the 2024 election.

Editor's note: The chart headlines have been corrected to note that it is a selection of major cities, not the most populous cities.

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