Despite the fact that a lot of people will tell you that nightlife in SF is on the wane and isn't as vibrant as it used to be in the age of Netflix and chill, the SFPD is blaming an increase in nightlife on an uptick in rape cases in the city. This comes out of a Police Commission meeting last week where, as the Examiner reports, Police Chief Bill Scott and Northern Station Captain John Jaimerena were trying to explain a seeming rise in rape cases reported in the Northern District, which includes the Marina, Polk Gulch, Fillmore, and Hayes Valley.
"What we’re seeing [in the Northern District] is, you know, a lot of stuff happening at nightclubs, people drinking," said Jaimerena, in regard to 20 reported rapes so far in 2017 there were 40 total in 2016, up from 31 the year before, but down from 43 in 2014.
The cops were generalizing and the figures don't actually seem to represent an uptick also, 20 rapes represents less than one tenth of the city's total reported cases for January to June, which was 223. But the Entertainment Commission and those in the nightlife industry are crying foul over these statements, saying that it implies responsibility on their part for crimes that didn't even happen on their premises.
Entertainment Commissioner Steven Lee calls the SFPD's statements "ridiculous," and fellow commissioner Ben Bleiman, who also heads the SF Bar Owner Alliance, tells the Examiner, "Overwhelmingly, the owners and the managers of nightclubs and bars and music venues take sexual assault very seriously." Bleiman also notes that ride-hailing apps have made nighttime revelers far more mobile than they once were, blurring the lines between districts. "They may start in the Mission and then go to North Beach and end up in the Marina," he says even though that's like $50 in Ubers right there.
Jaimerena, speaking to the apparent increase in rape cases last year in his district, told the Police Commission that he was going to be increasing "communication" with bar owners to raise awareness about rape.