San Francisco acknowledges the failure of 'Defund the Police'

Mayor diverted $120 million from police in 2020 only to later regret rising crime.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed was among the progressive politicians from major cities across the country who pledged to support police defunding in the summer of 2020 in the wake of George Floyd's death in Minneapolis. However, the following year she regretted her decision due to the increase in crime in the city.

Crime data in San Francisco has been a national concern for several years. FBI figures show that murders increased by nearly 17% in 2021 compared to 2020. Robberies were up 2.4% this year and rapes rose by 10% compared to 2021, according to data from the San Francisco Police Department.


San Francisco diverted $120 million belonging to the police and sheriff's departments to the black community in 2020, in an initiative called Dream Keeper Initiative. "We will redirect $120 million of law enforcement dollars to support these priorities over the next two years," Mayor Breed said in her July 31, 2020 statement. "Let me repeat. That's $120 million." She reaffirmed.

In December 2021 due to to the increase in crime, Breed back-pedaled on defunding law enforcement agencies and announced an emergency request to the city's Board of Supervisors to obtain more money to strengthen the police department and deal with crime. "I am proud that this city believes in giving people second chances," Breed said. "However, we also need accountability when someone breaks the law.... Our compassion cannot be confused with weakness or indifference.... My grandmother raised me to believe in 'tough love', in keeping the house in order, and we need it, now more than ever."

San Francisco police union president Tony Montoya commented that Breed's announcement in December was proof that the Defund the Police movement had been a mistake.

Mayor Breed's announcement yesterday to deploy additional police officers to address the unacceptable level of crime in parts of our city, specifically in the Tenderloin, is an acknowledgement that the push to defund the SFPD was a mistake.

Exodus of agents and dismissed prosecutor

The San Francisco Police Department has, like the country as a whole, recorded a police exodus at levels never seen before. Between April 2020 and April 2021, resignations increased by 18% and retirements by 45%, Mission Local reported this year. In August, the department had about 300 fewer officers than in previous years. Last month, the Board of Supervisors approved the city's $14 million budget for the 2022-2023 fiscal year, which included budget to fill about 200 vacant police officer positions and to add extra funds for officer retention.

According to the analysis of Sfgate, crime in San Francisco has soared in large part because of Chesa Boudin, a progressive district attorney, who blamed the rise in crime on the economic conditions caused by the pandemic and was very inefficient in the fight against crime. He was known for being very soft on criminals. San Francisco police stated that in 2021 they solved only 2% of theft cases. And 10% of the robbery cases have been solved. Boudin's office said he filed charges in 72% of the theft cases and 79% of the robbery cases.

San Francisco voters ousted District Attorney Boudin in June. Mayor Breed announced that Brooke Jenkins would replace Boudin. Since then, the newly appointed prosecutor has vowed to restore order in the city by taking steps to hold drug traffickers accountable and addressing repeated attacks on Asians.