Seeds: San Francisco has long been a hub for the wealthy on the west coast, but within the past twenty years due to the rise of Silicon Valley and its ever-growing tech industry, the area has become even more prosperous. While there have always been less affluent areas, the city was never considered extraordinarily dangerous. Over the past six years, however, there has been a significant rise in property crimes in the San Francisco area.
Core: Since 2010, the property crime rates (ex. theft, burglary) has increased by 60%. Reports about tourists passports being stolen from rental cars and people breaking into cars in nice neighborhoods are flooding in. As a result, San Francisco has the highest personal property crime rate out of the top 50 cities in the nation, according to an FBI report.
Skin: The city, which is well-known for its liberal populace, is struggling with how to handle the situation. Currently, there are two clear options: add more police to wealthier neighborhoods, or continue to ardently discourage theft. There are possible negative consequences with the former option such as an increase in awareness of the issue among the wealthy population and an increased risk of police violence. The latter option that denotes leniency aligns with the traditional sentiment in the city. As David Campos, the city supervisor of the police force said, “We don’t like to criminalize people for being poor.”
Leaves: Many suggest that the increasing property crime rate has to do with the growing divide within the city between the rich and poor. With the city’s extremely affluent neighborhoods come even poorer districts, and as more tech employees pour into the area, the gap between haves and have-nots is widening even more. While the cause hasn’t been definitively pinpointed yet, the city is a stark visible reminder of income inequality in the United States.
Food For Thought: What do you think of income inequality in the United States? Do you think any presidential candidate is best equipped to alleviate this issue? Do you think other areas are experiencing increased property crime rates?