On their website, the San Francisco Police Department writes proudly of their CompStat crime tracking program, which they say "has an established and proven track record in reducing crimes and improving the overall operating systems of several major metropolitan police departments" by keeping officers "armed with vital intelligence/information regarding emerging crime trends or patterns which allows for a strategic police response." Now, however, SFPD"s chief is saying that the department never truly used the program, even as past crime statistics are being removed from the police website.
When the SF Examiner sought the latest crime numbers for San Francisco, first they did what most proper probably do — went to SFPD's website. However, there they discovered that not only have the monthly, detailed breakdown of crimes in SF that had appeared on the site since the introduction of CompStat under then-Chief George Gascon had ceased to be posted, but that "monthly crime statistics from the past have been removed."
Therefore, even if October's statistics had been posted (which they weren't), "comparing old reports with new ones has become impossible without saved copies."
The Ex's next stop was to request the statistics from the SFPD's media relations department, which exists to provide reporters with information that they will in turn share with the public. Again, no dice. "After requesting the data repeatedly and receiving nothing," the Ex reports, "the department has said its data team was not ready to release the information."
You read that right! SFPD says that they were "not ready" to release the information on crime in San Francisco to the public. Your guess is as good as mine as to what that means!
Eventually, the Ex managed to get a copy of October's crime reports from a source outside the department, but the question remains — what happens to the CompStat numbers we've been looking at all along? The answer they got from SFPD Chief Greg Suhr was...contradictory.
Suhr said he was unaware the stats were withheld from anyone in past months and said the new numbers should be online and available to the public.
Suhr also said the department has never had a proper Compstat, and instead has compiled crime stats from numerous data sets, which caused anomalies. The department didn’t post those numbers online because they didn’t want to release false information.
According to SFPD's CompStat page, "accurate and timely intelligence and/or information are absolutely essential in effectively responding to any problem or crisis," but judging from the Ex's report, the information SFPD has is neither accurate nor timely!
That, or they just don't want to tell us what's going on. But I've never been one to ascribe malice to a situation when incompetence seems just as likely. (Then again, that might be the greatest trick the devil ever played! Speculate away in the comments!)
It's worrisome, however, that crime statistics from October are that challenging for the SFPD to accurately compile, and/or to share with you, the public. It is, after all, in your best interest to know the level and type of crime in your city!
Here are the October San Francisco crime stats the Ex was able to dig up from their source outside the department, for which we should applaud them.
- Homicides: 34 for the year in October 2014. 40 for the year in October 2015, making for an 18 percent increase year-over-year.
- Forcible rapes: 6% up since 2014, with 315 as of October of that year, and 333 as of October 2015.
- Robberies: Up 10%, with 2,778 by October 2014, and 3,067 by October 2015.
- Assaults: Up 4%. There were 6,030 in October 2014, and 6,283 in October 2015.
- Larceny theft: 30,298 in October 2014, and 35,170 in October 2015, for a 16% increase.
- Motor vehicle thefts: 8% higher this year, with 5,346 in October 2014, and 5,773 in October 2015
- Arson: 22% up, with 193 in October 2014 and 235 in October 2015.
- Human trafficking reports: 51 in October 2014 and 62 in October 2015 for an increase of 22%.
Overall, reported crimes are up 11% year over year, with 49,633 total reported incidents in October 2014 to 55,287 incidents in October 2015. Of course, that's only true if these numbers are correct — and from what SFPD is saying, that's a pretty big "if."