The crime rate of San Francisco is often a concern of those relocating to the area, as well as current residents who are now starting families or moving to a new part of town. The information below may be helpful in understanding crime in the Bay Area, as well as things you can do to help lower it.
Facts About the Crime Rate of San Francisco
If you are new to the area, or are looking to have some credible information to pass on to someone else, it is best to start out with straightforward facts. Personal experience and biases can tend to skew your perception, making the city seem either safer or more dangerous through your eyes than it is in reality. Also, San Francisco is full of diversity, meaning that just as the demographics change frequently, so does the level of crime in various areas. You will not find the same crime rate in every neighborhood, though sometimes it can be hard to differentiate. The truth of the matter is, San Francisco is not really any better or worse off when it comes to illegal activity than any other city of its size and stature. However, if you are concerned about your well being or that of a loved one, there are simple facts available below.
Crime facts are gathered every year, but they are not always readily available to the public. As of January 2009 the most recent published data is from 2007. You may be able to receive more current statistics by contacting the San Francisco Police Department directly, however it is up to their discretion what further information they choose to disclose.
As of 2007, the population of San Francisco was approximately 733,799. Out of this population count, there have been the following crime counts according to the FBI's website:
- 100 murders
- 125 rapes
- 3,771 robberies
- 2,418 aggravated assaults
- 34, 456 total property crimes
- 5,079 cases of burglary
- 23,474 larceny-thefts
- 5,903 vehicle thefts
- 235 arsons
Remember, these statistics come out of only reported crimes, so they will not be completely accurate. Although this may seem dire, San Francisco is not much above the national average. The city ends up coming in at about 1.7 times the national average, which is insignificant compared to other urban areas of the United States, such as Detroit which weighs in at 5 times the national average.
Visuals of Crime Rate
Thanks to the Internet, it is easy for a San Franciscan to get a visual of the crime rate in his neighborhood. For example, this map of the city shows the city layout. The dark colors represent the lowest amount of crime, with the lighter colors (on up through bright red and into yellow) showing the higher crime areas. The yellow area represents the most intense crime reportage, and as you can see, this section of the city is very small. Many people, especially those from out-of-town, consider San Francisco to be very dangerous due to its high volume of homeless people and varying minorities; howeever, as you can see from the above map, much of this is perception.
The Police Department also has a crime statistics map you can check out for yourself. It allows you to click through various parts of town to find the exact district information you're looking for.
Preventing Crime in the City
If you are new to the Bay Area it is normal to be somewhat concerned about your safety. However what many people do not realize is that their personal well being rests in their own actions:
- Take basic safety precautions, such as staying in well-lighted areas after dark. If this is not possible, walk assertively with a cell phone close by.
- Find out if your office or apartment building offers some sort of security escort service.
- Park your car in safe areas whenever possible.
- Be aware of your surroundings when using MUNI buses.
You can also volunteer to do your part in lowering the crime rate of San Francisco:
- Burt's Children's Center is one such place, as they serve as a residential facility for emotionally disturbed children. Kids are the future of the city, and you can make a difference. Call them at (415) 922-7700 to find out about potential donation and volunteer opportunities.
- The Tenderloin Housing Clinic is another group that may need volunteers depending upon the time of year. You can call them at (415) 771-9844, and also ask for other places throughout the city to volunteer.
The crime rate of San Francisco is being lowered by various human services groups all the time, and statistics will hopefully continue to improve as lives are changed in the great "City by the Bay."