Cities in Bay Area Show Large Drop in Homicides

In 2014, the largest cities in the Bay Area saw the biggest drop in homicide rates since 2001. It’s also one of the steepest drops seen in the last four decades, a Chronicle analysis shows.

The 15 largest population cities in the region had a total of 223 killings in 2014, which showed a drop of 28-percent since two years before and a 38-percent drop from 2007, when the amount of deaths were high enough to cause widely recognized concern.

For example, there were 100 homicide-related deaths in San Francisco in 2007, which is largely contrasted with the 45 killings in 2014. Oakland had 145 killings in 2006 and was down to 80 homicides in 2014. Richmond also had only 11 homicides last year, which is the lowest figure since 1971.

And Santa Clara has gone without one killing since 2011.

It is unclear to criminologists and police what the main reason is for the significant drop in homicide rates. Some theorize the improvement is due to better strategies by police, such as focusing on highest-risk cases, increased help from the community, more video and technology use, and decreased tension within street drug dealing.

Whatever the reason for the drop, police are remaining cautious, as the trends for homicides have been shaky throughout the years and there are neighborhoods still experiencing significant violence.

This can be shown with the beginning of 2015, which included increased gun violence like the Jan. 9 San Francisco quadruple homicide and the Oakland double killing on Friday.