Responding to MSNBC interviewer’s statement that New York City residents “don’t feel safe in this town,” and are “worried we could become San Francisco,” the state’s newly-elected Governor Kathy Hochul said NYC “will never be San Francisco.” Mallory Monench of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Hochul went on to say that the Big Apple was successfully fighting crime, with homicides and shootings down dramatically from last year. While the two cities have vastly different populations, on overall crime they are generally comparable. Homicides are tracking down 14% in New York City compared to last year while San they are up in San Francisco by .43%. But NYC saw dramatic increases in 2020 and 2021, while San Francisco homicides increased only slightly. Both cities have unacceptable rates of violent crime. When it comes to property crime Hochul is correct about San Francisco. The numbers for 2020 show almost three times the rate of property crimes in San Francisco than in New York. The reporter admits something that most of the media and liberal think tanks ignore, “The number is almost certainly higher in reality since many people don’t report property crime to the police because of the perception that doing so won’t make a difference.”
The reason the public has this perception is because it is true. In both cities, criminals have little fear of facing consequences for their crimes. It is hard to ignore daily news stories of arrestees for auto theft, assault, burglary, drunk driving, felons in possession of firearms and other serious crimes who are turned back on the streets before the ink on the charging documents is dry. We have seen televised smash and grab robberies, carjackings, violent assaults and murders in broad daylight in both cities. After a decade of enacting policies, including zero bail and sentence reductions, that have created these environments, we are now treated to liberal elected leaders, who supported those policies, pointing to other cities whining “yea its bad here but its worse over there.” My favorite variant of this diversion tactic is the one routinely cited by think tanks like the Brennan Center and the Public Policy Institute (PPIC), that while crime is rising, it is not as high as it was in the early 90s. In a recent report the PPIC noted: “While the violent crime rate has fluctuated year-over-year, it has remained relatively stable this past decade—between 428 and 466, hovering near its 2010 level (440), when California embarked on major criminal justice reforms.”
Everything’s alright, just be patient and let the reforms make us safer.
We were told this in 80s, as America embraced its last romance with sentencing reform.
Today, it seems that most folks, even liberal politicians like San Francisco Mayor London Breed and NY Governor Kathy Hochul, are not comforted by these bromides. They are acknowledging that things are going in the wrong direction.
The real question is: how bad do things have to get before the voting public has had enough?