[Fox News] ‘Crime shot up’: San Francisco police union chief blames defund movement for city’s lawlessness

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Rising crime in the Golden City stems directly from the movement to defund the police and the mayor’s decision in 2020 to gut law enforcement’s budget, a 30-year police veteran of the department told Fox News.

“What did they think was going to happen?” San Francisco Police Officers Association President Tracy McCray said. “Criminals were just going to stop what they were doing? They weren’t going to go out and commit crimes anymore?”

“The defund the police movement, along with taking away $120 million from the police department budget, 1,000% played the role in why crime shot up in San Francisco, California,” she continued.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed redirected $120 million from law enforcement to fund other city initiatives in July 2020. Since then, the city has increased police spending, but the department is still down nearly 600 officers and only has 75% of the officers needed to meet workload demands, the city announced in April. San Francisco’s Police Department’s (SFPD) full-duty sworn officers count is at a decade low, police data show.

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Total crime in San Francisco, including property and violent crimes, increased 14% in 2021 compared to 2020, according to SFPD data. Total crime increased another 7% in 2022. 

In an effort to entice more candidates to join the SFPD, the mayor and other city leaders agreed to a new contract with the police union that increased starting salaries for police officers to over $100,000, according to a job listing

“There’s a correlation between the defund the police movement and our staffing,” McCray told Fox News. “We lost academy classes.”

The department’s newest academy class had 32 recruits, a three-year record, according to Police Chief Bill Scott. But just over a month into the training, the class has since dropped to 28 members.

“If they get at least 20 to the finish the academy that will be a victory,” McCray said.

The previous class, which is about to graduate, started with 14 recruits, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Only six are on track to graduate.

There used to be about 50 to 55 recruits per class, according to McCray.

‘NO RULE OF LAW’: DEFUND MOVEMENT IN THIS TOWN WAS A ‘DISMAL FAILURE’ THAT LEAD TO MORE CRIME AND LAWLESSNESS

Homicide, robbery and motor vehicle thefts are all up double digits this year while assault, larceny theft and burglary are down single digits, according to SFPD data

One intersection near the tourist hotspots of Fisherman’s Wharf and Ghiradelli Square saw 374 car break-ins from July 2022 to June 2023, up 25% from the year prior the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

“Stores are leaving San Francisco,” McCray said, “because now there are not enough cops to be out on the street.” 

Walgreens has closed at least six locations throughout the city since 2021, with a spokesperson citing “organized retail crime” as a reason for five of the closures. In April, Whole Foods shuttered its flagship store due to safety concerns. 

Crime in San Francisco has also spread to more affluent areas, McCray told Fox News previously

But despite the city’s past defund efforts, it’s “water under the bridge,” she told Fox News.

“Now we need to move forward,” McCray said. 

The San Francisco Police Department did not return a request for comment. 

To watch the full interview with McCray, click here

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