San Francisco Mayor, Former ‘Defund’ Advocate, Pushes for More Police Amid Crime Spike

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news and stories relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is based in Maryland.
December 16, 2021 Updated: December 16, 2021

San Francisco’s mayor this week announced a plan to increase the number of police officers to try to address rising crime in her city.

“It’s time that the reign of criminals who are destroying our city, it is time for it to come to an end. And it comes to an end when we take the steps to be more aggressive with law enforcement, more aggressive with the changes in our policies, and less tolerant of all the [expletive] that has destroyed our city, we are going to turn this around,” Mayor London Breed, a Democrat, told a Tuesday press conference at City Hall.

Part of the multi-pronged plan is securing what’s described as emergency funding for the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) to crack down on criminals, particularly in the city’s Tenderloin neighborhood.

“We will need a budget supplemental to help fund SFPD overtime through the rest of the fiscal year, so they can keep doing the critical work they do every day,” Breed said in a blog post.

Breed also wants to introduce a bill that would let police and other law enforcement officers to access surveillance videos in order to more quickly solve crimes and another bill that is aimed at disincentivizing theft for profit.

“What I’m proposing today, and what I will be proposing in the future will make a lot of people uncomfortable, and I don’t care,” Breed said. “We are past the point where what we see is even remotely acceptable.”

Epoch Times Photo
People walk past a boarded storefront window following recent robberies near Union Square in San Francisco on Dec. 2, 2021. (Eric Risberg/AP Photo)

Crime has spiked in San Francisco in recent months, with a rash of burglaries, shootings, and other incidents.

Residents have increasingly resorted to unusual measures to try to deal with criminals, including leaving the trunks of their vehicles open in an attempt to stop people from smashing their windows.

“We’re looking at right now a massive spike in retail theft, shoplifting, car break-ins. We see mayhem on our streets,” Erica Sandberg, a longtime resident, told The Epoch Times.

Breed, the mayor, had previously favored cutting police funding. Last year, she unveiled a budget proposal that shifted funding from SFPD. In February, she said the $120 million in diverted funds would go to priorities like programs for youth.

The San Francisco Police Officers Association, a union, told Fox News that the reversal by Breed seen this week was an acknowledgment that defunding the police “was a mistake.”

San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott, who appeared with Breed, said that the widespread homeless population was contributing to some of the issues.

He said that some residents have conveyed a desire to have a 24-hour police presence because of the crime and that his department needs more resources to better tackle the illegal activities.

“I’ve heard from officer after officer after officer when I asked the question, ‘What do you need to do your jobs?’ The answer is usually two things,” he said. “We need enough people to do our jobs the way we’ve been asked to do it, and we need to be supported when we do our jobs the right way. As your chief of police, that’s what I’m asking for. I’m asking for the resources to do our job like we’ve been asked to do it. And I’m asking for support for our officers when they do the job the way that you asked them to do it.”

Siyamak Khorrami contributed to this report.

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news and stories relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is based in Maryland.