San Francisco residents, business owners and tourists face a new surge of property damage and burglaries, according to the Wall Street Journal. While violent crime remains low, San Francisco had the highest property-crime rate in four of the last six years among the largest 25 U.S. cities. This includes 20,663 thefts from vehicles, last year, a 39 percent increase from 2020. Terry Asten, owner of Cliff's Variety Store, noticed an increase in these types of burglaries when thieves smashed a display window and a door to steal items. "These last two years have been insane, it used to be a rare occurrence."
Plenty of blame is circulating for the uptick. Criminologists say that San Francisco's mix of tourists and wealthy residents make it a target for thieves. Some locals say the city's struggle with homelessness and addiction is to blame, while others say its the lax approach of the police when it comes to prosecuting petty crimes, and that a tough-on-crime attitude is needed. The police department cleared just six percent of property crimes in 2020, eight points below the national average. Meanwhile, police say that bands of organized thieves are causing the surge in crimes. Consequences of the trend have affected official like the city's District Attorney Chesa Boudin, who took office during the 2020 wave of "progressive prosecutors", and now faces a recall election in June. “Nothing is more important than to make sure that people who live in this city, people who work in the city, people who visit San Francisco, feel safe,” said Democratic Mayor London Breed “The fact is, that does require police officers.”