Last Updated on June 8, 2022
San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin has been recalled by voters in a special election on Tuesday. The recall effort garnered about 60 percent of the vote. Boudin has been roundly criticized by many on both sides of the political aisle for being soft on crime, and that his policies have lead directly to the deteriorating standard of living in the city. Boudin is widely considered one of the most progressive prosecutors in the country. San Francisco mayor London Breed (D) will appoint Boudin’s successor.
San Francisco has become infamous for rampant crime and homelessness during Boudin’s tenure as DA. Boudin was a proponent of the “defund the police” movement stemming from the death of George Floyd in 2020. He has attempted to walk back his stance since, but has been on the record supporting the allocation of funds from policing to other areas. According to Yahoo! News, Chesa Boudin expressed that sentiment in a statement.
“During times of tight budgets this has a ‘tremendous fiscal cost’ which he said ‘has come at the expense of other investments in our communities,” the now ousted San Francisco District Attorney said.
There is anecdotal evidence that this may be the case in San Francisco.
My husband had a gun pointed at his head outside our house this morning.
90 minutes ago.@sfpd has yet to respond to his 911 call.
— Emily Murphy (@ProfEmilyMurphy) May 20, 2022
Boudin’s policies regarding lesser crimes such as shoplifting have come under fire.
People in San Francisco are shoplifting in broad daylight while being filmed by security
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) June 15, 2021
In an attempt to “reform the criminal justice system” and push back against the issue of “mass incarceration”, Boudin has decided against prosecuting more minor offenses, such as shoplifting. The results have been disastrous for business owners and residents in the city.
In 2021, burglaries surged in the city. According to a CNN report, “crime decreased last year, burglaries in the city exploded — up 52%. The Richmond District alone saw a spike of 370%, records show”. According to police, “only 11 of the city’s top 25 repeat offenders for burglary are in custody.”
It is worth noting that the “decrease” in crime may be the result of more minor crimes not being punished. Boudin’s policy involving bail reform may be to blame for repeat offenders remaining on the streets.
While Boudin’s recall may signify a shift in San Francisco political consciousness, it seems that the likelihood of a strong rightward shift is unlikely. San Francisco is one of the nation’s most liberal cities, and even those in favor of the recall effort are signaling that San Francisco will remain a bastion of progressive politics.
“San Francisco has been a national beacon for progressive criminal justice reform for decades and will continue to do so with new leadership,” reiterated Mary Jung, the chair of the recall campaign.