San Francisco police Chief George Gascon and Mayor Gavin Newsom today announced a goal of reducing serious crime citywide by 20 percent by the end of the year.
The goal to lessen crimes such as homicides, assaults, robberies, rapes and domestic violence is part of an overall work plan for the department announced at a news conference at police headquarters this afternoon.
Gascon called the work plan, to be reviewed on a quarterly basis, “a new tradition for the San Francisco Police Department.”
“This is basically our scorecard,” he said.
Newsom said, “This is a first in many, many years … to set forth some goals. Goals that I believe are eminently achievable.”
New police enforcement strategies and community policing practices initiated under the administration of prior Police Chief Heather Fong have been credited by officials for an overall drop in crime in the city last year.
Gascon’s implementation last fall of CompStat, a program to track crime trends in neighborhoods and respond quickly, as well as hold district captains accountable, has already drawn praise from city officials.
Gascon today reiterated his call to make San Francisco “the safest large city in America.”
Both Gascon and Newsom stressed that public safety is “a shared responsibility” with community groups and residents.
“This is the plan for the city,” said Newsom. “This plan is not exclusively the Police Department’s.”
Police Commission Vice President Thomas Mazzucco praised the work plan as a “clear vision” that would bring “accountability” and “credibility” to the department.
Gascon was not specific about what a failure to meet the 20-percent serious crime reduction would incur within the department, but said he and his staff would be reviewing their progress regularly “to analyze what’s not working.”
“Although the 20 percent is a stretch goal, I believe that we can get there,” he said.
“Even if we fall short,” Newsom added, “what we’re doing is sending a message about our capacity to do more and do better.”
Other goals Gascon introduced today include a reduction in reported crime on San Francisco Municipal Railways by 10 percent; a reduction in traffic collisions involving vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians by 10 percent; a new “state of the art” records management system; more training for officers to properly handle and “de-escalate” crisis situations and reduce use-of-force complaints against police; an ongoing series of community advisory forums with police; and the establishment of a private, nonprofit foundation to raise funds for the department.