By Jarrett Stepman
If you don’t like the explosion of violent crime, you’re a racist.
That’s the message sent by a top aide to the San Francisco district attorney to a self-described “Democrat” who had said on Twitter that the jump in crime had made people afraid for their lives and dubious about the city’s future.
The Democrat tweeted that “every single one of my friends right now is considering leaving” San Francisco because of the big increase in crime, adding: “My friends are scared for their children, and their husbands are scared for their wives.”
Kate Chatfield, a senior director for San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, responded from a now-locked Twitter account: “‘Husbands are scared for their wives’—your reminder that the ‘crime surge’ crowd shares the same ideology as The Birth of a Nation.”
“The Birth of a Nation,” a 1915 silent film directed by D.W. Griffith, was technically pioneering but attacked by later critics for racist, white supremacist views that prompted the rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan.
This Twitter squabble highlights a real problem for San Francisco. Not only is the beautiful City by the Bay being wracked by crime, but political leaders are committed to the policies and rhetoric that made it such a haven for criminality.
It’s part of a long-term trend in a city run by Democrats for generations and increasingly dominated by a strident left-wing ethos. From the school board, to the city council, to the district attorney’s office, San Francisco is dominated by people more consumed with changing school names and other woke virtue signaling rather than making the city a safe and prosperous place to live and visit.
Without a doubt, violent crime has surged in cities around the country. The jump has been historic.
What is notable about this crime spike is that cities such as Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco have been among the hardest hit. Though there are likely many reasons for the increase, the so-called Minneapolis Effect may be the biggest.
The Minneapolis Effect has been described by a crime expert as the result of the anti-police rhetoric and actions of some cities following the death of George Floyd last year in the custody of Minneapolis police. Defunding the police en masse, as San Francisco and other cities have done, certainly hasn’t helped the situation.
Most of the increase in crime over the last year has been violent crime, but San Francisco also is being hit by an explosion of burglaries, shoplifting, and property crime too. San Francisco’s Richmond District, typically one of the nicest and safest neighborhoods, saw an increase of over 300% in burglaries compared to the same time in 2020.
“The San Francisco Police Department reported a total of 124 burglaries in Richmond as of Feb. 14, compared to 28 burglaries for the same period a year ago,” Fox News reported. “Meanwhile overall burglaries in the city are up 62.5% with 1,123 burglaries reported as of Feb. 14 compared to 691 for the same period a year ago.”
That’s certainly not all.
“According to the latest crime data from San Francisco police, the city’s central station has seen an increase of theft from vehicles,” local news outlet KRON 4 reported June 27. “From May 2020 compared to May 2021—went up 753%. The area includes Fisherman’s Wharf and Chinatown.”
These problems did not just come from nowhere.
In San Francisco, many business owners say this was exacerbated by voters’ approval in 2014 of Proposition 47, which “reclassified certain theft and drug possession offenses from felonies to misdemeanors.”
The change applied to crimes such as burglary, shoplifting, and grand theft when the property stolen amounts to less than $950.
The result has been the highest—and still escalating—rates of property crime in the country.
Large pharmacies and other retailers have been targeted so much by unchecked burglaries and blatant shoplifting that they’ve had to restrict hours of operation and close stores. Much of the jump is now being driven by organized crime, according to Walgreens, a major pharmacy chain in the area.
San Francisco’s small businesses have been hit even harder.
“My store has been broken into more than 14 times,” Jalal Heydari, owner of Limoncello, an Italian market and deli, said in an interview with Fox News. “And I have all the police reports, but I have not been notified if anybody got arrested.”
Heydari noted the changes brought by Proposition 47.
“What [city officials] are doing, they are just promoting this crime. Promoting people to do more, because $950, or $1,000 or $2,000, it doesn’t matter—they get away with it,” he said.
Obnoxiously, opposition to this out-of-control situation is being treated as illegitimate despite the undeniable descent of the city into violence and criminality, some of it in broad daylight.
Of course, Boudin, as the Democratic district attorney, has been focused on the causes that really matter the most for his city.
He recently mandated that his staff use the “correct” personal pronouns of anyone accused of a crime.
We all know that when someone steals your car or ransacks your business the real crime would be to say, “Help, police, that man is robbing me! Arrest him!” when it’s really a man who identifies as a woman robbing you, so you should say “woman” and “her.”
Amid the rising crime and general absurdities it seems that San Francisco residents, at least, are catching on to how bad things have become.
A recent poll commissioned by the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce found that over 70% of city residents want more policing in high-crime areas.
Yet, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, a Democrat, is continuing with the plan to cut over $120 million out of law enforcement agencies.
No surprise that the poll also showed that over 40% of residents surveyed said they plan on leaving the city in the next few years due to rising crime and declining quality of life.
The decay of San Francisco is a tragedy. As a Bay Area native, it saddens me to see the city plunge into chaos and criminality. It’s a beautiful city wracked by bad policies and out-of-touch, ideology-driven leadership.
Hopefully, those leaving San Francisco will remember why their quality of life disintegrated.
Originally published by The Daily Signal. Republished with permission.