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New Report: San Franciscans Spend More And Get Less From Their Police Department Than Most Major CA Cities

Contact: For more information about this topic or to schedule an interview, please contact CJCJ Communications at (415) 621-5661 x. 103 or cjcjmedia@cjcj.org.


SAN FRANCISCO – March 15, 2022 – A publication released today by the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice examines performance trends within the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD). At an annual cost of about $704* per resident, the SFPD remains a disturbing outlier among police agencies across the state. The SFPD solves fewer crimes compared to other large California cities while arresting Black people** with the widest racial disparities of any jurisdiction evaluated statewide.

The SFPD has a history of mismanagement, wasteful spending, disproportionate policing of communities of color, and lack of transparency. The SFPD consistently has the worst statistical reporting of any California law enforcement agency, large or small. In particular, the SFPD does not specify an offense in most youth arrests and wholly fails to specify Latino ethnicity among arrestees, which masks information about who is coming into contact with police and why. As issues mount, this policy brief explores the limitations of recent reform efforts and opportunities for further action.

The SFPD's rising budget and personnel accompany increasingly poor performance and worsening crime rates over the last decade, 2010-11 through 2020-2021

Pictured is a graph showing that as San Francisco Police Department’s budget rises, its performance declines. Performance is measured by worsening crime rates over the last decade, 2010-11 through 2020-2021. Over the last decade, crimes solved are down 33%, police arrests per reported offense is down 60%, while reported crimes are up 19%, police employees per resident are up 12%, and police budget per resident is up 7%.

The report finds:

  • The SFPD has the highest cost per square mile patrolled, the second-highest spending level per resident, and the most employees per resident of California’s six major-city police departments.

  • SFPD arrests have declined by an average of 60 percent per reported offense from 2010 to 2020, challenging conventional beliefs that more police lead to lower crime.

  • The SFPD has the lowest rate of reported offenses solved by an arrest (8.8%) compared to other major city departments.

  • The SFPD arrests Black people at the highest rate of any major California city. In 2020, the SFPD’s arrest rate for Black people was 9.8 times higher than its arrest rate for non-Black people, and 3.6 times the average arrest rate for Black people statewide.

  • The SFPD is the only police agency in California that refuses to specify Latino ethnicity in arrest data. Its failure to comply with statewide standards distorts analyses and potentially masks true racial arrest disparities.

  • The SFPD fails to specify an offense in 86 percent of juvenile arrests and 17 percent of adult arrests. This is four and 12 times the state average, respectively.

Read the full report >>

*This number was changed on March 15, 2022 at 3:36 P.M. PST to accurately reflect data in the report.

**An earlier version of the report referred to arrested Black people as “Black residents.” The report was updated on March 15, 2022 3:36 P.M. PST to reflect that arrest statistics do not distinguish between residents and visitors to the city.

Contact: For more information about this topic or to schedule an interview, please contact CJCJ Communications at (415) 621-5661 x. 103 or cjcjmedia@cjcj.org.


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Keywords: crime trends, San Francisco, San Francisco Police Department

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