SAN FRANCISCO - The number of homicides in the city of San Francisco has already eclipsed the number of people who were killed last year, and there are still 36 days left in 2020 and COVID-19 may be to blame for the increase in killings.
Police say homicides and street violence are up all over the country including in San Francisco. 2020 isn't even over yet, but San Francisco has already exceeded the number of homicides in all of 2019. There were 45 homicides by Tuesday, there were 41 in all of 2019. "We have had to bury children," said Supervisor Shamann Walton from District 10. "We've had to bury mentors, we've had to bury family members. All at the hands of violence."
Supervisor Walton says a third of those homicides happened in his district which included Bayview and southeast portion of the city. He's calling for a new community safety plan, which would include short and long term solutions to stop the violence including a violence prevention oversight committee, increased job and economic opportunities, and strategic use of police in hot spots. "We are calling for definitely making sure that we have foot patrol officers in certain areas of the district," said Supervisor Walton. "We need to make sure that we have fixed post in our hotspot areas."
San Francisco police say the department constantly analyzes crime data and adjusts their resources to address those hotspots. The department says the increase in homicides appears to be part of a nation trend that is likely driven by Covid-19. The virus, leading to shelter in place orders which contribute to mental and economic health concerns and a decrease in community contact which can help reduce violence before it breaks out.
Community members and even a police commissioner joining Supervisor Walton in his call for renewed focus on and a search for solutions to, violence. "I'm here to tell you, I'm going to work alongside my colleagues, the supervisor's office and the mayor's office to ensure that we are enforcing the law here in our community alongside community members," said San Francisco Police Commissioner Dion-Jay Brookter.
With that increase in homicides over last year it should be pointed out that 2019's homicide rate, with 41 people killed in the city all year long, was the lowest in more than a half century, 56 years.