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Following the stabbing death of Cash App inventor Bob Lee, hawkish tech critics have dubbed San Francisco “lawless.” The crime rate in the city paints a different picture.

After the terrible stabbing death of Cash App developer Bob Lee on Tuesday, detractors of the city’s liberal policies rushed to call San Francisco a “lawless” city with “horrific” crime, but the city’s violent crime figures tell a different tale.

According to NBC Bay Area, Lee was tragically stabbed in San Francisco early on Tuesday. Security footage showed his frantic search for assistance following the incident, which led his friends to criticize the municipal government.

“Chesa Boudin, & the criminal-loving city council that enabled him & a lawless SF for years,” wrote Matt Ocko, a venture capitalist from Palo Alto and friend of Lee, in a tweet. He claimed the city’s leadership “have Bob’s literal blood on their hands.”

Following similar criticisms of his plan to lower jail rates and reform-minded attitude to crime, Boudin was removed from office the previous year.

Elon Musk, the CEO of Twitter and Tesla, commented on Twitter that “violent crime in SF is horrific” and noted that “even if attackers are caught, they are frequently released immediately.”

Boudin oversaw the abolition of San Francisco’s cash bail system, and the city now only permits pre-trial incarceration when a defendant poses an “unreasonable risk” to the victim or the public, or when they have “repeated failures” to appear in court or comply with alternative sanctions.

An earlier 2018 change in bail policy that required judges to take a person’s ability to pay into account when setting bail amounts and that detention only be used when no other less restrictive option will ensure follow-up appearance at court and guarantee the public’s safety led to a relatively stable jail population in San Francisco through 2021, according to a California Policy Lab report.

I despise what San Francisco has turned into, wrote TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington in a blog post.

Despite the lack of complete statistics for 2023, the city’s crime rate has remained relatively stable or decreased over the last ten years, with the exception of a brief uptick in 2019, according to California Department of Justice data. Violent crime is defined as rape, murder, robbery, and aggravated assault.

According to data from the Major Cities Police Chiefs Association, San Francisco recorded 56 homicides between 2021 and 2022, a number that is significantly lower than other cities of comparable size (under 1,000,000 residents). In Indianapolis, Indiana, there were 271 homicides in 2021 and 226 in 2022. 2021 saw 204 killings in Columbus, Ohio, while 2022 saw 140.

According to CNN, San Francisco had a 23% spike in property crimes between 2020 and 2022, including larceny and burglary, as well as retail theft and car break-ins.

According to a 2018 study by the Public Policy Institute of California, there is “some evidence” that the 2014 passage of California’s Proposition 47, which changed the classification of theft offenses from felonies to misdemeanors if the value of the stolen property is less than $950, may have contributed to the rise in larceny-theft across the state.

Kevin Benedicto, a police commissioner, and attorney, reportedly said on Thursday that “a small minority has tried to weaponize this tragedy to advance a narrative about a crime wave that just isn’t borne out by the data in San Francisco.”

There are significant issues with crime in San Francisco that need to be addressed, but Benedicto said: “You’re seeing people from the tech sector and from certain political circles trying to make explicit connections to certain policies and elected officials before we even know the facts of the case.

Ocko, Musk, Arrington, and Benedicto, as well as the San Francisco Police Department, did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.

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