San Francisco, CA – City leaders today announced that the 2023 holiday shopping season saw the lowest levels of reported theft in San Francisco in years and an increase in visitors to major Downtown destinations, including in Union Square.
Local law enforcement has been conducting ongoing strategic operations to disrupt car break-ins and retail theft citywide, and to heighten safety efforts in shopping areas during the holidays. These efforts have coincided alongside coordinated efforts with the state and federal government to disrupt and shut down drug markets.
Between November 20, 2023, and January 1, 2024, compared to the same time period the year before, San Francisco saw a:
48% reduction in larceny theft (includes retail theft and auto break-ins)
17% reduction in motor vehicle theft
26% reduction in burglaries
These reductions in crimes were paired with increases to people returning to shop and visit in Union Square and Downtown areas. Holiday activations, reliable transit, and safe parking options helped to create an atmosphere to support San Francisco during the holiday season.
From November 20 through the end of December 2023, San Francisco saw increases into major retail areas like Union Square and Downtown compared to the same time last year, with:
58% increase in weekday transit riders exiting Powell and Union Square/Market Street Muni Rail stations
54% increase in weekend transit riders exiting Powell and Union Square/Market Street Muni Rail stations
An 11% increase in unique daily visitors to Union Square Park
Over the course of the 10-day Winter Walk activation alone, the Union Square Alliance estimates a generated financial boost in the tens of millions of dollars. As the holiday season concludes, the Union Square and Downtown areas are planning for more activity, including welcoming back the 42nd Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in Union Square, which begins January 8 and runs through January 11, 2024.
“The holidays in San Francisco are a magical time, and I’m proud of the work we are doing to make our City safer and more welcoming for everyone,” said Mayor London Breed. “We have invested in public safety – including deploying officers and community ambassadors – and we have invested in making our City more active and vibrant. As we move into 2024, we will continue to focus on doing the hard work to lift up San Francisco, to prevent and deter crime when we can, and to respond quickly with clear accountability when people do break the law.”
“The San Francisco Police Department will continue to enforce the law and protect our residents, businesses and visitors,” said Police Chief Bill Scott. “I’m encouraged by the success we’ve had in reducing retail crime during the holiday season, but this is just a start. We are expanding our efforts as we hire more officers and find ways to better use technology to ensure San Francisco is a safe place for everybody.”
“The results are clear. When city leaders coordinate to identify, arrest, and prosecute those who attempt to wreak havoc on our businesses, residents, and visitors, we create a safer city for all,” said District Attorney Brooke Jenkins. “I am grateful for the additional investments made by our local and state partners towards public safety, and as we move into 2024, my office will continue to send a strong message that all crime is illegal in San Francisco.”
The reductions in larceny theft reached lows not seen in the last five years, including during the pandemic.