What happens when you plot crime data from 1/01/2011 to 03/26/2011 on Crimemapping.com. Even after taking out all the incidents for "disturbing the peace."

“We’re down in every category except homicide,” said Captain Greg Corrales, addressing the San Francisco Police Commission last night. “And there we’re tied.”

Despite a spate of gang violence in late February, the Mission has seen a decrease in both violent and property crimes, according to the numbers Corrales presented to the Commission.

Between January 1 and March 26, 2010, the Mission had one homicide. That number would be six before the year was out.

From January 1 to March 26, 2011, the Mission has also seen only one homicide — a man who was shot at 17th and Mission. “We’re going to try to keep that number at one,” Corrales said.

Are these statistics fortunate? Perhaps. The Mission has seen two eruptions of gang-related killings in the last five months. The first, in December, led to the death of one man and the injury of several others. The second, in late February, involved an afternoon shootout at 24th and Harrison that could have easily led to a killing, rather than just injuries, if rain that day had not kept the normally heavy traffic on that street down to a minimum.

It’s also fortunate that the drive-by shooting outside of El Tin Tan on March 14, which the SFPD believes was not gang-related, didn’t kill any of the five men who were hit.

Other numbers have also declined or stayed close to the same. The Mission saw 123 violent robberies by March 26, as opposed to last year’s 122 (“We’re one over,” said Corrales about that one). Aggravated assaults fell from 132 to 112. Reported rapes fell from five to three. Burglaries fell significantly, from 198 to 56. Arsons are up slightly (five at this time last year, six this year).

Auto thefts have fallen by a small margin, from 96 to 90. But thefts of things from inside automobiles are up all over the city, and the Mission is no exception. Last year, 209 auto break-ins were reported; this year the number is 244.

Earlier in the meeting, a police officer from another district blamed the problem on people leaving too much stuff in their cars. Corrales tried a different approach. “I would suggest that one reason why is Cop Logic reporting. More and more people are learning about it, and a lot more people are reporting crimes on it that they wouldn’t have otherwise, because of convenience.”

“The good news is,” Corrales continued, “arrests are up in every case. Arrests for violent crime are up 42 percent. Arrests for property crime are up 11 percent. More arrests. Less crime. And with less officers. We’re really happy with that.”

As of March 26, he continued, Mission Station had made 46 arrests for robbery, 72 for aggravated assault, 14 for burglary, one for arson, one for rape and 81 for larceny. The only decline was in auto theft — seven this year instead of 10.

Corrales attributed the decline in violent crime both to community policing (more on that to come), but also to several searches conducted on people in adult and juvenile probation. The result — lots of arrests for parole violations, and the seizure of varying amounts of drugs, guns and money.

How this plays out through the rest of the year remains to be seen. We’ll keep you posted.

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Heather Smith covers a beat that spans health, food, and the environment, as well as shootings, stabbings, various small fires, and shouting matches at public meetings. She is a 2007 Middlebury Fellow in Environmental Journalism and a contributor to the book Infinite City.

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