SF police chief says serious crimes down 13 percent this year 

In the first part of the year, San Francisco police Chief George Gascón made a dent in his aim to reduce serious crimes in The City, but fell short of his stated goal of a 20 percent reduction.

Gascón announced the Police Department’s first-quarter numbers at a news conference at the Hall of Justice Monday afternoon.

In January, the chief stated he wanted to reduce crimes such as homicides, assaults, robberies, rapes and domestic violence by 20 percent by the end of the year.

On Monday, he announced a 13 percent drop in serious crimes in the first three months of the year, from 10,076 over the same period in 2009 to 8,864 this year.

In the category of violent crimes, nonfatal shootings were down, but homicides rose slightly from 11 to 12 this year.

In April, five additional homicides, including two during the weekend, have brought the total number of slayings in The City so far this year to 17.

There was also a small increase in the first quarter in the number of rapes, Gascón acknowledged. He added that it was not clear whether that could be attributed to a rise in the number of reports by victims.

Traffic collisions resulting in injury or death dipped from 716 to 707, and fatal collisions were halved, from eight to four.

Gascón also touted the seizure of 326 guns so far this year, a citywide gang enforcement operation that netted 54 arrests, drug enforcement operations in the Mission district and the Tenderloin resulting in 212 dealer arrests, and operations targeting robberies, burglaries and retail theft in the mid-Market Street area.

Gascón attributed the progress to “more focused enforcement,” aided by his implementation of CompStat, a program to track crime trends in neighborhoods and respond quickly, as well as hold district police captains accountable.

“We’re getting better at the way that we gather information, at the way we analyze information,” he said.

However, one of Gascón’s new assistant chiefs, Jeff Godown, acknowledged separately this morning at a Board of Supervisors committee hearing that the state of technology in the department is “lacking.”

“I would say that we’re many, many years behind most police departments,” Godown said.

Godown said the department has spent “millions” for its information technology section, “and quite frankly, we don’t have anything to show for it.”


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