San Francisco continues to see violent crime drop -- even in light of a spate of recent homicides -- but property crime continues to be a problem, according to Police Department data for the first half of the year.
Violent crime, including rape, murder and aggravated assault dropped from the first half of 2013 to the first half of 2014 by 27 percent, but auto theft was up 16 percent, auto burglaries were up 9 percent and burglaries were up 2 percent.
Some parts of The City are facing higher rates of property crime than others.
In the Central Police District, which covers the most densely populated section of town, the northeastern section of San Francisco, the stats for property crime overall were up 19 percent. The district covers part or all of North Beach, Fisherman's Wharf, Telegraph Hill, Chinatown, Union Square and Russian Hill and the Financial District.
Still, crime rates there jumped even higher for another property crime -- burglary.
The number of burglaries in the Central District jumped by 54 percent in the first six months of the year compared to last year.
In all of 2013, there were 607 burglaries in the district. From 2012 to 2013, burglaries in the area only increased by 3 percent.
While neighborhood groups and residents in the area have expressed concern about a possible spike in home burglaries, statistics paint a more nuanced picture of who is being burgled and where those burglaries are taking place.
Most of the area's burglaries are not residential burglaries and are not concentrated in residential areas. Instead they are taking place in the Financial District and the Union Square area, district Capt. David Lazar said Wednesday.
Many are crimes of opportunity, he added.
The increase in burglaries is also attributable, Lazar said, to simple thefts that become violent when the assailant tried to escape.
These crimes have prompted Union Square-area businesses to team up with each other and several neighboring police captains.
The new effort, which is just getting underway, was the brainchild of Tenderloin Police Station Capt. Jason Cherniss and will create a notification system for stores in the area when any other stores are the victims of thieves. In that way, said Lazar, who is also taking part in the effort, store security will be on the lookout.
Mixed bag of crime
Citywide crime stats for first half of 2014 compared to first half of 2013:
Violent crime down 27 percent compared to this time last year
Burglaries up 2 percent from 2,683 to 2,733
Auto theft was up 16 percent from 2,689 to 3,126
Burglary from vehicle was up 9 percent from 7,378 to 8,044
Source: San Francisco Police Department