San Franciscans Get What They Voted for With Chesa Boudin
By Michael Shellenberger | 28 November 2021
SUBSTACK — When Chesa Boudin ran for San Francisco district attorney in 2019, he said crime was caused by poverty, wealth inequality and inadequate government spending on social programs. He called prostitution, open drug use and drug dealing “victimless crimes” and promised not to prosecute them. The result has been an increase in crime so sharp that San Francisco’s liberal residents are now paying for private security guards, taking self-defense classes, and supporting a recall of Mr. Boudin, with a vote set for June 2022. Retailers like Walgreens and Target are closing stores in the city, citing rampant shoplifting. Last week, a shockingly organized mob of looters ransacked a downtown Louis Vuitton store.
Mr. Boudin and his defenders say crime in San Francisco has actually declined under his watch. The store closings had little to do with shoplifting, they insist; Walgreens announced in 2019 it would close stores as a cost-saving measure. And after the Louis Vuitton looting, Mr. Boudin talked tough on Twitter : “Standby for felony charges. Indeed, some crimes did decline, but for Covid-related reasons, while many other offenses increased. The pandemic crimped tourism, which meant fewer car break-ins and less shoplifting, but both are now on the rise. Car break-ins were 75% higher in May 2021 than in 2019, before the pandemic.
While it’s true that official incidents of shoplifting haven’t increased under Mr. Boudin, the punishment has changed— and the bad guys appear to have gotten the message. In 2019, 40% of all shoplifting reports resulted in arrest; in 2021, under Mr. Boudin, only 19% did. Walgreens says shoplifting is five times as high, and security costs 50 times as high, in its San Francisco stores as the chainwide average. […]