SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — A special edition of “Cuomo” will air Monday on News Nation featuring a town hall called “Crime in America.” Journalist and show host Chris Cuomo will speak with mayors, crime victims, and law enforcement about potential solutions to crime in American cities.
KRON4 News Anchors Darya Folsom and James Fletcher spoke with Cuomo Thursday morning about what he dug up on San Francisco’s crime and public image problems.
“Obviously, San Francisco has been in the crosshairs of national scrutiny. The problem, I believe, is being exaggerated, but more importantly, misunderstood. People twist reality to their own agenda. We got to be afraid of twisting data, and we have to be afraid of simple solutions to complex problems. And crime is at the top of the list (for) complex problems,” Cuomo said.
Folsom said when she’s traveling, and tells people from outside the Bay Area that she’s from San Francisco, “the first thing people say is … ‘oh my God it’s dangerous.’ What do you think is going on?”
“San Francisco, the backyard of Pelosi, is seen as the bastion of the Left. So they are going to beat you over the head on the Right with the perception of lawlessness, and drug addicts, and homelessness,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo said that “hype” is fueling conversations around crime.
One mayor who will not appear on the show is San Francisco Mayor London Breed. Cuomo said Breed declined his request for an interview. Cuomo blasted public officials, such as mayors, who chose to “duck” tough conversations.
Breed has focused her energy in 2023 on improving San Francisco’s embattled public image as a city. The city weathered a public relations firestorm over it’s downtown turning into a “ghost town.” And Elon Musk went as far as calling San Francisco a “derelict zombie apocalypse.”
The city recently launched multi-million-dollar public relations campaigns dubbed, “Always San Francisco,” and “Make Your Future San Francisco.”
On Thursday Breed tweeted, “We are continuing to enforce laws that keep our streets safer for everyone.”
Breed highlighted crime statistics from the Tenderloin — the city’s most drug and crime plagued neighborhood — to reinforce her message Thursday. SFPD Tenderloin Station officers have arrested 502 suspect drug dealers so far this year, compared to 566 arrests in all of 2022. “During those arrests, TL Station seized 118 kilos of narcotics, compared to 102 kilos seized in all of 2022. This includes 77 kilos of fentanyl,” Breed wrote.
“There’s too much open drug use and disruptive behavior in our neighborhoods. We can’t stand by while people’s lives deteriorate on our streets. That’s why (law enforcement) detained 191 people for public drug use between 5/30 and 7/23,” Breed wrote.
On Wednesday Breed signed a $14.6 billion budget for the city.
Breed proclaimed that the budget will “deliver critical public safety support for our neighborhoods. It will drive our economic recovery and revitalize downtown. It will confront the city’s fentanyl crisis, provide support for those struggling with homelessness, and create opportunities for all San Franciscans to thrive.”
Breed said her budget will rebuild the police force by hiring 220 more police officers and crackdown on open-air drug markets. The budget will also pump more money toward City Public Works cleaning crews who power-wash sidewalks, remove litter, and sweep gutters, and remove graffiti.