San Francisco to shift $120 million from law enforcement budget to ‘reparations’ to the black community

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Mayor London Breed announced Thursday how the city will spend $120 million removed from law enforcement budgets. Labeled “The Dream Keeper Initiative,” the plan will reinvest the money into the city’s black community.

The Mayor called the initiative “reparations.”

Calling the reinvestment “reparations,” Breed said the transfer of funds from law enforcement to the minority black community was to make up for “decades of disinvestment” in the black community by the city.

The plan calls for the funds to be used for workforce development health campaigns, youth and cultural programs, and housing support with the minority, predominately black communities.

The Mayor said the spending plan includes priorities identified during community meetings and surveys with black residents.

Breed, the city’s first African-American Mayor, said that her motivation for carrying out the initiative was her own life:

“I grew up in poverty. I’ve had to live in poverty over 20 years of my life. And the frustration that came from living like that and then seeing so many of my friends who had been killed or in jail or on drugs — that is my motivation.

Because just imagine if we can change the outcome of African Americans in San Francisco. What an incredible, thriving city we truly will be.”

Funding for the intuitive will come from the budgets of local law enforcement agencies. $80 million will be shed from the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) budget over two years, and $40 million is from the Sheriff’s Department.

The cuts were prompted by a summer of protests following the killing of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis on Memorial Day and calls by some Democrats to defund police departments across the country.

In June, Breed also ordered the police department to no longer respond to non-criminal complaints.

The actions of the Mayor and city council come at a time when crime has surged in San Francisco. Burglaries have been spiraling out of control, with a rise in property crime of 342.9% in the Richmond District alone. 

As of February 14, there have been 124 burglaries in Richmond this year. Robberies, assaults, and arsons were also rapidly increasing over last year’s numbers.

While the cuts to the law enforcement agencies’ budgets are deep, 6% of SFPD’s budget, the heads of both agencies were supportive when the coming cuts were announced last year. SFPD Chief of Police Bill Scott said in July:

“We knew there would be pain and sacrifice associated with these budget cuts, but we also know they’re necessary to fulfill the promise of Mayor Breed’s and Sup.

Walton’s reinvestment initiative to support racial equality. While the cuts are significant, they are cuts we can absorb, and that will not diminish our ability to provide essential services.”

However, when Mayor Breed asked Chief Scott to try and find places to cut the budget further during a budget meeting, he said doing so was not possible:

“The majority of our budget is personnel staffing, and we’ve cut pretty much everything we can cut.  Which will equate, because we’ve cut everything we can cut, in a reduction and a loss of 210 full-time employees.

“What you see highlighted in red are the stations that will be impacted the most. I am not supportive of these cuts. They will be devastating to the police department.”

The city’s President of the Board of Supervisors said the funds will help improve the black community. Shamann Walton said:

“This initial investment to improve outcomes for the black community and overturn years of disinvestment and inequitable resource distribution is just the first step in righting the wrongs of history.

“We now have to continue to prioritize communities that have never had a chance to build true wealth and this is a first step towards true reparations for the Black community here in San Francisco. We are proud of this work and looking forward to doing more.”

The cuts follow similar measures in Los Angeles, where Democratic Mayor Eric Garcetti and the city council voted in July to cut the budget of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) by $150 million.

Councilman John Lee voted against the measure, which passed 12-2.

Lee said LAPD was a model other departments look up to, and pointed out that two-thirds of their officers are black:

“I’m not saying LAPD is a perfect organization. There’s always room for improvement, but … other police departments throughout the nation strive to follow them on their community policing, use of force, de-escalation, and implicit bias training.”

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LET Unity
Burglaries skyrocket almost 343% after San Francisco ‘police reforms’, massive police budget cuts

February 18, 2021

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Since Mayor London Breed (D) announced police reforms in June which prohibited police officers from responding to “non-left threatening” incidents, crime has spiraled out of control in the Richmond District.

Robberies, assaults, and other crimes have increased dramatically, and burglaries have surged 342.9% from last year.

Since the beginning of the year, data from the SFPD indicates that there were 124 burglaries as of February 14.

For the same time period in 2020, there were only 28 burglaries.

City wide, burglaries were up 62.5% with 1,123 burglaries this year for the same time period, as opposed to 691 in 2020.

In the Richmond District, there were 21 robberies as of February 14 representing a 90.9% increase from the 11 last year. Assaults are up 0%, motor vehicle thefts up 58.3%, and arsons are up 25% this year.

The crime rate increases follow reforms announced in June, when Mayor Breed said that police would no longer respond to non-criminal calls as part of a restructuring of the police department. In a new release issued by the Mayor, she said:

“San Francisco has made progress reforming our police department, but we know that we still have significant work to do. We know that a lack of equity in our society overall leads to a lot of the problems that police are being asked to solve.

“We are going to keep pushing for additional reforms and continue to find ways to reinvest in communities that have historically been underserved and harmed by systemic racism.”

Under the reforms, Breed said calls that did not involve a threat to public safety would be handled by trained, unarmed professionals in order to limit unnecessary confrontations between police and the community.

The reforms followed nationwide protests and riots that spread across the nation following the death of George Floyd in May 2020. Connecting the reforms to the protests, Breed said:

“For too long, black people have been subjected to violence at the hands of people in power. Now is the time when we can make sure that these demonstrations that we see are translated into real action.”

SFPD Chief Bill Scott supported the Mayor’s plan saying the reforms are necessary to fight systemic racism in law enforcement:

“The initiatives Mayor Breed is announcing today are consistent with our department’s commitment to the Collaborative Reform Initiative and our aspiration to make the San Francisco Police Department a national model in 21st Century policing.

“We understand that it’s necessary for law enforcement to listen to the African American community and embrace courageous changes to address disparate policing practices, and we recognize it will take sacrifice on our part to fulfill the promise of reform.”

The reforms included barring the police from using “military-grade weapons,” increase accountability for bias in the department, and redirect police funding toward programs and organizations serving the communities that have “been systematically harmed by past city policies.”

Non-criminal calls defined by the new reforms include neighbor disputes, homeless person calls, and school interventions, among other types of incidents.

In addition to the reforms, Breed announced a $120 million police budget cut over the next two years. She said the cuts were necessary because of the city had a budget deficit projection of $653.2 million over the next two years. The Mayor blamed the shortfall on the pandemic and slow growth on “slower than expected revenue growth, costs for employee salaries and benefits, and additional costs to respond to COVID-19.” Mayor Breed issued a statement reading:

The challenges facing our City in the months and years ahead are significant, and we have a lot of hard choices to make to get our City back on the road to recovery. Closing this deficit will not be easy, and it’s going to require tough choices and real tradeoffs.

“While this pandemic will continue to slow our recovery, I know we can do the hard work to get this City moving forward.”

Discussing the crime rate spike, SFPD Spokesman Michael Andraychak told The Chronicle:

“The department has seen an increase in burglaries across the city, particularly after the COVID-19 shelter in place orders took effect. We are seeing a trend of garage burglaries in which bicycles are being stolen.”

Police department statistics show that burglary increases were common regardless of the type of burglary attempted. There were 26 attempted forced entry burglaries this year as opposed to 1 by this time last year. There were 56 forcible entry burglaries as opposed to 12 in 2021.

Likewise, there have been 30 unlawful entries in 2021 as opposed to 11 last year. 

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