Though San Francisco's 2017 crime rate is lower than last year's, there's one area where we're seeing a significant uptick: Homicides, which are occurring in far higher numbers than in 2016. And as of this past weekend, police have even more slayings to investigate, as two died in separate incidents on Sunday and Monday.
In the first slaying, a man identified by the San Francisco Medical Examiner's office as 30-year-old Alvaro Palma was shot to death at around 12:30 Sunday morning on the 4200 block of Mission Street, police say.
A block of Mission bordered by Admiral and Castle Manor Avenues, the location is also the site of The Oficina cocktail bar, KTVU reports. it's outside this nightclub that the San Francisco Police Department reports that they found both Palma's dead body and an armed suspect in the shooting, who has yet to be identified but is described by police as a 42-year-old male.
KRON 4 reports that "investigators are now looking at surveillance video taken outside of the bar. They are also investigating if the two men knew each other."
Then on Monday, police say that a 45-year-old man was killed on the 1300 block of Treat Avenue,which is between 26th Street and Kamille Court.
According to the SFPD, which has yet to disclose the way the man was killed, when officers arrived on the scene at 1:05 a.m. Monday the victim was already deceased, and a 52-year-old female suspect in his death was arrested. As of publication time, neither the name of the suspect nor the victim had been publicly released.
An SFPD spokesperson confirms to SFist that Monday's homicide beings the city's count to 27 for the year. According to the SF Examiner, "as of May 31, 2016, there had only been 21 homicides in San Francisco," putting SF on track for a far higher rate of violent deaths this year. This continues an upward trend that began last year: By the end of 2016, the city saw 58 homicides, the Ex reports, which was seven more than the year before.
While arrests have been made in both of this weekend's cases, it's worth nothing that that's also not the end of those stories. According to the Ex, "Since 2015, about 15 percent of all people arrested and booked on suspicion of murder have been released without charges" in San Francisco, making the city's homicide arrest-to-charge rate one of the lowest in the area.
“We charge cases based on the facts and the law," a spokesperson with San Francisco's District Attorneys Office says when asked about their charge rate. "Where we either lack sufficient evidence to meet our burden of proof, or if we are unable to meet our ethical obligations to only charge cases that we believe we can prove in a court of law, charges will not be filed."
Another reason for the comparatively low arrest to charge rate? How SFPD counts clearances in cases. According to the Ex, SFPD counts "each arrest as a clearance in their homicide cases, but they only apply to arrests made, not when charges are filed." Therefore, "police sometimes too quickly arrest suspects without enough evidence, which does not augur well for prosecutions."