With crime a hot-button issue in the upcoming November elections, both SF Mayor London Breed and President Joe Biden can tout that crime has decreased significantly in the last six to twelve months. But they may have a tough time convincing voters of that.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed’s poor polling numbers as she heads toward November’s election might ironically be the result of her own messaging. Back when she was expressing her distaste for then-DA Chesa Boudin in 2021 and 2022, she declared that crime was "the bullshit that has destroyed our city," even though crime was down at the time. Yet she got her way with the "But it’s how people feel crowd," and Boudin was recalled.

Though there is risk for a political incumbent to tell people that things are terrible on your watch, because people might think things are still terrible when you suddenly claim things are not terrible anymore. Fear as a political strategy may not be something you can turn on and off like a lightswitch.

Image: SFPD

Case in point: Breed is now rightfully touting that crime is further decreasing in San Francisco. The latest numbers from SFPD seen above prove it. The mustard-colored lines are the first half of 2024 (thus far), the blue lines are crimes for the same date range in 2023. Crime in SF is down this year pretty much across the board, and quite significantly in some categories.

But listen to Breed’s “law and order” mayoral foe Mark Farrell, using lines that sound straight out the Recall Chesa Boudin campaign. “Just ask anybody in the city if they feel safer,” Farrell told Mission Local in late April. “Universally, across the board, in every single neighborhood, the answer I receive is ‘no.’”

Does he verify this? No. It’s just how people feel, or at least, how Farrell claims people feel.

President Joe Biden may have the same problem as Breed. Crime is a leading issue in the 2024 election, and Biden can tout new and impressive numbers that violent crimes is down 15% nationwide according to the FBI’s latest numbers, as KGO reports.

"This data makes clear that last year's historic decline in violent crime is continuing," Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement Monday, alongside the FBI data. "This continued historic decline in homicides does not represent abstract statistics. It represents people whose lives were saved — people who are still here to see their children grow up, to work toward fulfilling their dreams, and to contribute to their communities."

Of course, Biden has the advantage of running against an actual convicted criminal, which in a normal world, would make the crime issue an advantage. But Biden has the disadvantage that a large plurality of the country buys Trump’s victimhood horseshit, making real-life statistics even less meaningful than they are for Breed’s campaign.    

Related: Mayor Breed Touts Claim That Crime Is Down 7% In SF Over the Last Year [SFist]

Image: (Left) @SFPDChief via Twitter, (Right) Department of Justice