Crime in San Francisco

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San Francisco
Crime rates* (2019)
Violent crimes
Aggravated assault283.7
Total violent crime669.6
Property crimes
Motor vehicle theft479.6
Total property crime5,505.6

*Number of reported crimes per 100,000 population.

Source: FBI 2019 UCR data

San Francisco currently has lower-than-average rates of violent crime when compared with other major U.S. cities, while property crimes, such as theft and burglary, are higher than the national average.[1]

In 2011, 50 murders were reported, which is 6.1 per 100,000 people. This coincided with a period when California's homicide rate fell to a 44-year low.[2] There were about 134 rapes, 3,142 robberies, and about 2,139 assaults. There were about 4,469 burglaries, 25,100 thefts, and 4,210 motor vehicle thefts.[3] The Tenderloin area has the highest crime rate in San Francisco: 70% of the city's violent crimes, and around one-fourth of the city's murders, occur in this neighborhood. The Tenderloin also sees high rates of drug abuse, gang violence, and prostitution.[4] Another area with high crime rates is the Bayview-Hunters Point area. In the first six months of 2015 there were 25 murders compared to 14 in the first six months of 2014. However, the murder rate is still much lower than in past decades.[5] That rate, though, did rise again by the close of 2016. According to the San Francisco Police Department, there were 59 murders in the city in 2016, an annual total that marked a 13.5% increase in the number of homicides (52) from 2015.[6]

In November 2021, San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin’s office stated that about 2% of auto burglaries in San Francisco result in an arrest.[7]

In September 2022, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that a poll of 1,653 city residents found that over the past five years, 45% of San Francisco residents had been the victim of theft and 24% had been either been threatened with violence or had been the victim of a violent crime.[8]


Several street gangs have operated in the city over the decades, including MS-13,[9] the Sureños and Norteños in the Mission District.[10] In 2008, a MS-13 member killed three family members as they were arriving home in the city's Excelsior District. His victims had no relationship with him, nor did they have any known gang or street crime involvement.

African-American street gangs familiar in other cities, including the Bloods, Crips and their sets, have struggled to establish footholds in San Francisco,[11] while police and prosecutors have been accused of liberally labeling young African-American males as gang members.[12] However, gangs founded in San Francisco with majority Black memberships have made their presence in the city. The gang Westmob, associated with Oakdale Mob and Sunnydale housing project gangs from the southeast area of the city, was involved in a gang war with Hunters Point-based Big Block from 1999 to the 2000s.[13] They claim territory from West Point to Middle Point in the Hunters Point projects.[14] In 2004, a Westmob member fatally shot a SFPD officer and wounded his partner; he was sentenced to life without parole in 2007.[15]

Criminal gangs with shot callers in China, including Triad groups such as the Wo Hop To, have been reported active in San Francisco.[16] In 1977, an ongoing rivalry between two Chinese gangs led to a shooting attack at the Golden Dragon restaurant in Chinatown, which left 5 people dead and 11 wounded. None of the victims in this attack were gang members. Five members of the Joe Boys gang were arrested and convicted of the crime.[17] In 1990, a gang-related shooting killed one man and wounded six others outside a nightclub near Chinatown.[18] In 1998, six teenagers were shot and wounded at the Chinese Playground; a 16-year-old boy was subsequently arrested.[19]


  1. ^ "Key facts about crime in San Francisco". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 1 May 2023.
  2. ^ Demian Bulwa (January 5, 2012). "Through hard times, S.F. killings at historic lows". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  3. ^ "San Francisco crime rates and statistics". NeighborhoodScout. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  4. ^ "The Tenderloin". FoundSF. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  5. ^ Vivian Ho (July 4, 2015). "Bay Area homicide rates remain low". San Francisco Chronicle.
  6. ^ Bodley, Michael (January 4, 2017). "SF cops say they notch 2 arrests in last 2 homicides of 2016." SFGate. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  7. ^ San Francisco DA Says Few Auto Smash-and-Grab Burglaries End With An Arrest Betty Yu, CBS, November 10, 2021
  8. ^ Swan, Rachel (September 13, 2022). "Here's how many San Franciscans say they've been the victim of a crime, according to new poll". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved October 16, 2022.
  9. ^ "La Mara Salvatrucha Street Gang – San Francisco". Archived from the original on July 26, 2013. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  10. ^ Bulwa, Demian (May 27, 2005). "SAN FRANCISCO / Sureño gang's threat growing in Bay Area / Widow's apartment is at heart of group's Mission District turf". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
  11. ^ Albert Samaha (September 26, 2012). "Crip-less: S.F.'s Dislike of Franchises Extends to Street Gangs – Page 1 – News – San Francisco". SF Weekly. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  12. ^ Chris Roberts (December 2015). "Mario Woods and Gang Injunctions". SF Weekly. Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  13. ^ "Straight Outta Hunter's Point DVD". Archived from the original on September 14, 2012. Retrieved September 14, 2012.
  14. ^ Sward, Susan (December 16, 2001). "THE KILLING STREETS / A Cycle of Vengeance / BLOOD FEUD / In Bayview-Hunters Point, a series of unsolved homicides has devastated one of S.F.'s most close-knit communities". SFGATE.
  15. ^ Van Derbeken, Jaxon; Lagos, Marisa; Buchanan, Wyatt (April 20, 2007). "AK-47 cop killer gets life". San Francisco Chronicle.
  16. ^ Mary Spicuzza (August 1, 2007). "Enter The Dragon". SF Weekly. Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  17. ^ Vanessa Hua (October 7, 2006). "Golden Dragon Closes and owes a million". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
  18. ^ Jim Herron Zamora (May 15, 1990). "S.F. Chinatown Shootings May Be Tied to Gang". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 16, 2012.
  19. ^ Vanessa Hua (June 20, 1998). "Boy, 16, Arrested in S.F. Chinatown Shooting Rampage / Suspect was at scene but didn't fire gun, cops say". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved September 16, 2012.

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