Liberal politicians from coast to coast pledged support for defunding the police departments in 2020 following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. London Breed, the San Francisco Mayor, was one of the major politicians who joined the chorus that diverted funds from police in the summer. However, the course reversed the next year.
Over two years, the plan saw $120 million in city funds redirected from the sheriff’s and police departments to help fund projects for Black Americans in Golden City. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the reallocation was meant to be a gesture of reparations for decades-old city policies that have created or exacerbated inequalities for San Francisco’s African American residents.
Breed was not the only one to make moves to defund police. From the U.S. House of Representatives to local leaders, political leaders supported activists’ demands that funds allotted to police departments be diverted to public safety initiatives such as mental and youth services.
San Francisco was one of the cities that saw crime rise in 2020, compared to 2019. The number of homicides rose by 20% in 2020 compared with 2019, and 17% in 2021 compared with 2020. According to data from SFGate, crimes like rape and burglary declined in 2020. However, burglaries rose by 47% in 2020 compared with the previous three years.
The city was also hit by smash-and grab crimes, especially during holidays. It was also affected by a drug epidemic that saw more people die from accidental overdoses in 2020 than COVID-19. There have been polls in recent years that show residents are becoming concerned about public safety and that their quality-of-life has declined.
San Francisco’s data regarding homicides follow a national trend that began in 2020. FBI data shows murders rose by almost 30% in 2020, the highest single-year increase since the agency started tracking these crimes.
Fox News Digital spoke with experts who pointed out the defunding movement, the pandemic, its lockdowns causing unprecedented disruptions to daily life, and the Ferguson Effect for the increase in crime in 2020.
There have been many reports that police departments were understaffed, suffering from low morale, and faced a difficult recruitment process to strengthen their ranks. Many police leaders blame the defund movement as well as anti-police rhetoric for reducing morale.
The national trend has seen more reporting from the San Francisco Police Department. The department has lost 300 officers as of August. Only eight to ten recruits were available to fill the gaps. 50 officers left the department last month.
Mission Local reported that resignations rose by 18% between April 2020-2021 and that retirements rose by 45% between April 2020-2021.
Breed announced a December 2021 emergency request to the City Board of Supervisors to receive more money to strengthen the police department and combat crime.
According to the president of the San Francisco police union, Breed’s December announcement was proof that the defunding of the police movement was a “mistake”.
The Board of Supervisors approved last month the $14 million budget for 2022-2023. It included provisions to fill approximately 200 police officer positions as well as funding to retain officers.
San Francisco has had to deal with a complex problem of crime. This was made worse by the departure of a liberal district attorney.
Breed had earlier announced that Brooke Jenkins would be replacing Boudin. Breed announced that Brooke Jenkins, the newly elected DA, would take over from Boudin earlier this summer.