Outcry over crime following tech exec's death in San Francisco

San Francisco neighbors and business owners say they’ve been warning police about increasing violent crime long before tech executive Bob Lee was stabbed and killed.

Police have not released information about what led up to the crime that happened just after 2:30 a.m. Tuesday along Main Street, not far from the Bay Bridge. There are still no arrests and no named suspect.

"I think for the past 10 years I’ve been seeing things get worse and worse and worse every year," business owner Sam Habash said. "It’s really pitch dark when you walk down the street. You’ll probably get mugged, you’ll probably get robbed."

Habash has run a corner convenience store at Main and Harrison streets for more than 15 years. It’s just steps away from where Lee was found stabbed. Habash said he now closes his store early for safety reasons.

Many neighbors tell KTVU they have a sense that everything from break-ins and other property crimes to homicides and violence is on the rise.

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"I feel unsafe," said Yasmin Hariri who lives in a nearby condo. "I just want more armed forces protecting our neighborhood."

Data shows homicides have increased over the last three years from 48 homicides in 2020 and 56 in the following two years. 

Overall, violent crime and property crime is up over the last three years, according to San Francisco Police Department’s crime statistics.

The department maintains it has a much lower crime rate in comparison to other cities of similar size and has seen a drop in violent crime compared with 2019 numbers.

"You do have to realize that we do have a problem," said Lt. Tracy McCray, president of the San Francisco Police Officers Association. "We do have an issue. The stabbing [of Lee] was the third or fourth stabbing in 72 hours."

Incident reports show there were four stabbings in four days in early April and another deadly shooting with no arrests.

One big challenge facing police is the high vacancy rate and critical need to fill open positions.

The Board of Supervisors recently approved Mayor London Breed’s $25 million request to cover more police overtime to keep cops on the streets and detectives investigating violent crimes.

Police have not said if Lee’s death was targeted or random. But it has left many, including Habash, fearful that what happened to Lee could happen to anyone.

"They come and do their crime and they just get on the bridge and away they go," he said. "We need more lights, more police protection on the streets."

Brooks Jarosz is a reporter for KTVU. Email him at brooks.jarosz@fox.com and follow him on Facebook and Twitter @BrooksKTVU