San Franciscans are feeling blue. And I don’t mean politically. Their city is a disaster and they know it.
They are unhappy because crime just keeps getting worse. Almost half of San Francisco residents have been victims of crime, including 25% who have been physically attacked or threatened.
This news come from a poll done by the San Francisco Chronicle. They surveyed 1653 San Francisco residents and asked them a wide range of questions about life in their (formerly) beautiful city. My colleague John Sexton has an excellent post on this subject, covering the wider ranging aspects of the poll. The news from The Chronicle was disturbing:
Opinions and feverish debates about public safety have shaped the most momentous political decisions in San Francisco this year, from Mayor London Breed declaring a state of emergency in the Tenderloin, to the historic recall of a district attorney.
But in a city where leaders are constantly groping for solutions, some residents still feel afraid to walk home alone or lock their bikes downtown. A sweeping poll commissioned by The Chronicle drew sobering results: Nearly half of respondents said they were victims of theft in the last five years, while roughly a quarter were physically attacked or threatened. The majority had negative impressions of law enforcement.
If somebody told me that San Franciscans had a lower opinion of the police than criminals I would be inclined to believe them. They keep voting for Democrats who ensure that crime keeps escalating and criminals are allowed to walk free. It was a political earthquake when they recalled their Soros D.A. Chesa Boudin–who literally was birthed and raised by domestic terrorists yet was elected District Attorney on a platform of embracing criminals.
Most of us were shocked when he was elected because doing so was literally insane, and equally shocked when he was recalled because the voters were insane enough to put him anywhere near the criminal justice system in the first place. As hopeful as it seemed, the recall was nothing but a blip in another otherwise unbroken trend toward complete lawlessness in the city.
Crime, of course, is bad for everybody. But as usual the costs fall hardest on the black and hispanic communities. The elite are frustrated, but the working class gets crushed. The elites are all for compassion toward lawbreakers, but ignore the pain of regular citizens.
Forty-five percent of people surveyed for the poll said they had an item stolen within the last five years. Proportionally, Black and mixed-race respondents felt a more severe impact than other groups, with a majority — 54% of Black respondents and 55% of mixed-race respondents — reporting they had suffered theft. Property crime rates were lower for white residents, 43% of whom had a possession swiped within the time period.
Because it is San Francisco and the fog appears to make people truly insane, residents direct their ire at the police. It is the activists and the politicians who have hamstrung police, but it is the police who get the blame. I now know why confusion is sometimes called brain fog.
Eighteen percent of residents surveyed said police are doing a good or excellent job, while 41% gave a poor or very poor rating. Dissatisfaction was highest among respondents who identified as mixed-race, 52% expressed disappointment with police, and those who identified as Latino, 45% of whom gave the department a negative review. These two groups also reported the highest rates of threats or physical violence in the past five years.
“The overall message for me is that something is not working,” Hollins said. “Our communities that have been overburdened with experiencing crime and violence could have told anyone that.”
Politicians have bent over backwards to accommodate criminals. Residents hate the explosion in shoplifting, but the politicians essentially decriminalized it. Everybody wants safety, cleanliness, lower rents, free daisies, and enough marijuana to smoke available on every street corner. They even want streets free of human feces, as surprising as that is. But none of them want anything as icky as prosecuting perps and getting the homeless off the sidewalks and out of the parks.
How on earth are the police supposed to prevent crime if doing so is actively discouraged? You can arrest the criminals, but they are back on the street in a heartbeat. Would you spend effort and time to go after criminals who will never be punished? What is the point? You like getting laughed at by the perps? Police are instead moving along, moving along, because there is nothing to see here.
The lesson that the politicians and activists have learned is that they haven’t decriminalized enough and given criminals hugs and kisses to soothe their savage breasts. So they will instead do the same thing, only gooder and harder:
[Tinisch Hollins, executive director of Californians for Safety and Justice] views the poll data as evidence that the traditional legal system has failed to create a safe environment, and that San Francisco should invest in alternatives, such as substance abuse treatment or civilian responders for low-level crimes. The city was among many that tried a series of reforms after George Floyd’s murder in 2020, though it seemed to retreat two years later, most notably with the recall of progressive district attorney Chesa Boudin.
San Francisco may have enough people voting for these policies that they persist, but some people are voting with their feet. There is already an exodus, and a larger one on the way. Forty percent of people surveyed said they were planning to leave the city due to quality of life issues–which go far beyond crime.
I’m all for people voting with their feet if that is the only solution for them, but too many of these people leaving haven’t learned the lessons of their city’s failure.
They pick up and leave. Move to a beautiful new place in Florida, Texas, Idaho, or some other sane state and then vote for the same Leftist policies that destroyed their once-beloved city.
Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit fame has been lobbying his readers to start a “welcome wagon” project to educate refugees from the Blue states into the ways of more sane Red staters, so they don’t ruin things. The Foundation for Economic Education is trying to start just such a project.
Let’s hope it works! The alternative is Leftism spreading like the plague.