San Francisco sees crime fall after coronavirus ‘shelter-in-place’ order

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Crime has dropped in San Francisco after the city mandated all residents stay home in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus, Police Chief Bill Scott said Monday.

The mandate, which cautions non-essential workers to work from home and only venture out for necessities such as groceries and medicine, took effect last week, but already calls for police to dispatch have fallen as low as 25 percent compared to this time last year, Scott said.

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Violent crime has dropped by nine incidents this month when compared to 2019, and there have been no instances of looting at shops or restaurants that have shut down because of COVID-19.

“We were on a little bit of an upward trend prior to this public health order,” Scott said at a news conference, referring to violent crimes. “Now we are at a significant downward trend.”

Uniformed officers have also been in heavier patrol on the streets to tamp down on crime on vacant properties.

The stay-at-home orders are expected to last until at least April 7, but Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday it would be “misleading” to tell residents that businesses would be open and operating as usual by that time, contrary to the predictions President Trump made about possibly returning to normalcy by Easter.

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California has the third-highest number of cases of COVID-19 and deaths resulting from the virus in the U.S. As of Tuesday, there are at least 2,267 cases of coronavirus statewide and 43 people have died.