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Sunday, March 26, 2023

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News + PoliticsCrimeDA Brooke Jenkins is getting a total pass from the local news...

DA Brooke Jenkins is getting a total pass from the local news media

Crime is as bad as it was under Chesa Boudin. But none of the outlets that attacked him are holding the new DA accountable.


When Chesa Boudin was elected as San Francisco district attorney in 2019, most of the local news media began a series of attacks on his policies and his actions that were often wildly inaccurate. It seemed as if every single thing that was wrong with San Francisco was Boudin’s fault; every news outlet reporting on any serious crime found reason to blame the reform-oriented DA.

Dion Lim at ABC news was among the worst, but the Chronicle wasn’t far behind.

How come it was all Boudin’s fault, but Jenkins gets no blame at all? Photo by Ebbe Roe Yovino Smith.

So now, a year after whipping up a frenzy suggesting that under Boudin crime was out of control, an analysis of local news media suggests the folks who went after Boudin are giving the current DA a total pass.

It’s not as if crime isn’t still happening, and maybe getting worse.

Let’s just look at a few recent headlines.

A shooting in the Mission killed one person and left three wounded.

Repeat burglaries in Polk Gulch are leaving merchants furious and frustrated.

A popular bakery in the Castro was burglarized and ransacked.

Tenderloin merchants are threatening to withhold taxes because of crime in the neighborhood.

Armed robbers stormed a cafe in the Lower Haight.

Two LQBTQ+ community leaders were attacked near City Hall.

I am on Nextdoor, which is often horrible but sometimes a source of stories, and all I read about is crime, crime, crime.

But I have done a pretty careful search of all the available databases, and at no point has the Chron or KPIX, or for that matter any of the other major news media, blamed the current DA, Brooke Jenkins, for any of this.

Seriously: While almost every crime story in 2020 talked about Boudin, almost none of them in 2022 or 2023 talk about Jenkins.

Instead, we get these puff pieces.

And when KPIX covers a serious crime, there is zero mention of Jenkins. Two years ago, that story would have quoted the Boudin attackers saying it was all his fault.

So would this one, again with nothing suggesting the DA is at fault.

Jenkins took to Twitter today to talk about her success in fighting street drug sales:

 But let’s look at the actual data. The number of cases presented to Jenkins went up 52 percent since she took office—meaning the cops under Boudin were not making as many arrests.

That’s common knowledge; the SFPD basically went on a working strike to get back at Boudin for daring to seek prosecution of killer cops. They stopped making arrests, which makes it hard to prosecute cases.

The difference between Boudin’s prosecution rate and Jenkins’ rate is relatively minor—and we have no idea yet how many of those charges will stick and how many people facing charges will be convicted.

When Sup. Joel Engardio was vice president of Stop Crime SF, he made a big deal about Boudin’s responsibility for crime problems. I emailed him yesterday to ask if he has any intention of holding Jenkins to the same standards. He hasn’t responded.

So maybe the Boudin recall wasn’t about crime at all. Maybe it was a political move by the Police Officers Association and supporters of the mayor to remove a progressive DA and give the mayor an appointment.

You think?

48 Hills welcomes comments in the form of letters to the editor, which you can submit here. We also invite you to join the conversation on our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.

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