SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — San Francisco police released their crime statistics from 2019 on Tuesday and the numbers showed a significant decrease in violent crime.

There were 41 homicides in the city last year, the lowest total since 1961 and an 11% decrease from 2018. Robberies, assaults and sex crimes were also down.

Auto burglaries, one of the city’s biggest crime issues, even showed a drop of 2% in 2019.

In addition, the data show rapes were down by 15% while sex trafficking fell by 57%.

“When you are a victim of violent crime, really the statistics, they really don’t matter when it happens to you, and we understand that,” said SFPD Chief William Scott. “That is why building relationships is so important. That is why our strategy is focused on prevention rather than reaction.”

Scott said the department’s homicide clearance rate was 71% after solving a number of high profile cases.

Mayor London Breed also credited the hard work and community outreach for the decrease in violent crime.

“Ultimately, we want to ensure safety to all residents in San Francisco. And that involves, yes, police presence, but it also involves working with the community,” Breed said.

Chief Scott says violent crime is the city’s top priority and the department is now shifting resources to neighborhoods that are most impacted by violence.

According to Scott, a 2018 study by researchers at the California Policy Lab at the University of California at Berkeley found that officers conducting regular foot patrols in downtown San Francisco led to significant drops in assaults and thefts.

But both Scott and Breed acknowledged that the Police Department is short by about 100 officers and an increase in staffing would likely lead to an even sharper drop in crime.

“We’re doing everything we can to recruit and get the people in the academy and put them on the streets,” Scott said. “We try to run as efficiently as possible. We’re looking at resources and the bodies needed, and the officers are needed in the streets, so that’s what we’re planning to do.”

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