Far Higher Percentage of Blacks Arrested than Whites in SF

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Last year, the San Francisco Police Department arrested 3,413 African-Americans for felonies, compared with 3,207 arrests of Whites, according to data from the California Attorney General’s (AG) Office.  Although the number of African- and European-American felony arrests in the City in 2014 was roughly the same, San Francisco has almost ten times as many Caucasian residents as Blacks. 

In 2014 roughly 50,000 Blacks lived in the City, compared to almost 460,000 European-Americans, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.  If each arrest was related to a separate individual, the data imply that about seven percent of San Francisco’s African-American population – almost one out of ten – was arrested in 2014, compared with less than one percent of the Caucasian population. 

According to a 2013 San Francisco Reentry Council report on racial disparities in City courts, 83 percent of individuals booked into San Francisco jails were City residents.  “Too often, people dismiss the alarming racial disparities in the San Francisco County Jail by claiming that African-Americans from other cities enter San Francisco to commit crimes,” San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi said after the study was issued. “In fact, it is Black San Franciscans who are being over-policed and over-incarcerated.”

The arrest disparity between people of color and European-Americans may be even greater than indicated by the AG data, which doesn’t include the number of Hispanic people arrested.  San Francisco police lumped Latina/o people with Whites, according to the Reentry Council study. 

The Reentry Council study showed that Black San Franciscans are more than seven times as likely to be arrested as White residents, 11 times more likely to be booked into the County Jail and more than 10 times more likely to be convicted.   

AG data indicates that the number of violent offenses, such as homicide, rape and robbery, which occurred in San Francisco in 2014 was roughly equal among African- and European-Americans, as was the number of property crimes, such as burglary, motor vehicle theft and arson.  In 2014, 689 African-Americans were arrested for violent offenses, versus 826 Whites; 535 Blacks for property crimes, compared with 480 Whites. Four hundred and five Blacks arrested for drug offenses in 2014, compared with 484 Whites.