SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - It's the first time in more than 100 years that the race for San Francisco district attorney is wide open with no incumbent running.
There are four candidates vying for the position. KTVU is profiling all the candidates.
On Tuesday, a KTVU crew spoke with Chesa Boudin.
He says his experience with the criminal justice system, personally and professionally, makes his the best person for the job.
Boudin visited merchants in the Mission district as he campaigned for votes.
The manager at Little Star Pizza told the candidate he's concerned about crime, "We've been robbed four times in this restaurant and the police station has done nothing."
Boudin replied, "Wow, that's got to change."
The 39-year-old described himself as the candidate for change. He's the only one in the race for San Francisco district attorney who's never worked as a prosecutor.
Boudin worked as a public defender in San Francisco for seven years and is currently on leave while running for office.
He said he has a specific plan on how to help crime victims: "I commit to require my staff to contact every victim of every crime within 48 hours. That's not happening today."
Boudin said he will tackle property crime with a strategy, "Leaving decoy laptops in parked cars at the bottom of Lombard Street and not arresting the person who breaks the window, but following the laptop. Let's see where it goes. Let's take apart the networks creating the demand for stolen property."
On this Tuesday evening, dozens of volunteers are phone banking for Boudin at his campaign office on 15th Street.
To date, his campaign leads the race in fundraising.
He credited his message of reform and grassroots approach to listening to community concerns.
Boudin says he was 14 months old when his parents were arrested for their role as getaway drivers in a Brink's robbery that left two police officers and a security guard dead. His mother has been released and his father is still incarcerated.
"It's taught me the ways that we're failing victims of crime and failing to rehabilitate people who commit crime. It's why I became a lawyer. It's why I became a public defender and why I'm running for district attorney," said Boudin.
Boudin says because he's never been a prosecutor, he brings a fresh perspective on how to prevent and fight crime, as well as advocate for victims.