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SF crime is down – as long as you aren’t talking rapes or homicide


San Francisco Police Chief George Gascon is the kind of optimist this country needs more of.

On Monday, he announced a 13 percent drop in serious crimes in the first three months of the year, from 10,076 over the same period in 2009 to 8,864 this year.

But turn off the slide projector and look at the rapes, robberies and homicides not featured on the big screen. All were higher in the first three months of 2010 than during the same time last year.

This One Didn't Count

Rape was up 33 percent, from 33 incidents last year to 44 this year. Robbery was up 13 percent, from 744 to 844. Homicides were up 9 percent, from 11 to 12. Oops!

“We’re obviously concerned about it,” Gascon said of violent crimes. The increase in rapes could be due to increased reporting, he said. “We don’t know.”

Some might divide the world into two camps: pessimists, and optimists. Psychologist Susan Vaughan’s book, Half Empty Half Full, is about the psychological and biological roots of optimism.

I have no idea if Chief Gascon read the book. But clearly he is firmly planted in the optimist camp.

I wonder if he consults on the side. I suspect senior management at Toyota could use a good dose of optimism right now.

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