Early Results of San Francisco Crime Study Reveal Stark Findings

Last week, the nonprofit organization Urban Alchemy made a significant announcement regarding a study conducted by Stanford University. The study revealed a remarkable decrease in crime rates in areas where Urban Alchemy’s community ambassadors were stationed.

There are a few crucial factors to consider regarding the study, as it holds significant policy implications in San Francisco. Despite not being peer-reviewed, published, or finished, the journalists who attended an Urban Alchemy press conference last week have not had the opportunity to see it.

Despite the lack of specific information, numerous organizations proceeded to release the study’s overall conclusions. This did not seem to concern Mayor London Breed, who stood alongside the nonprofit’s leaders as they highlighted its achievements during a press conference last week.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed has pledged to provide ongoing support and investment to Urban Alchemy and the Tenderloin community. Ensuring the safety of every resident and worker in the area remains a top priority, according to Breed.


According to the study, there has been a significant 52% decrease in crime in areas where Urban Alchemy’s community ambassadors are stationed. This information sheds light on the positive impact of these practitioners in reducing crime rates throughout the city.

Urban Alchemy has emerged as a crucial element in The City’s efforts to address the deteriorating street conditions in the Tenderloin and Mid-Market neighborhoods. An organization has deployed unarmed community ambassadors to monitor the most troubled street corners in The City. These ambassadors have firsthand experience with homelessness and the criminal justice system. A study was recently conducted by Stanford’s Ethnography Lab, led by Dr. Forrest Stuart.

According to Stuart, who was present at the press conference, the study was conducted independently and did not receive any funding from the nonprofit organization or The City. He acknowledged that Urban Alchemy had provided researchers with the opportunity to accompany them.

After analyzing crime data from the San Francisco Police Department, researchers diligently examined the potential impact of Urban Alchemy while accounting for other factors that might affect crime rates, such as the overall decrease in crime due to COVID. Stuart reported that researchers have conducted a study on the potential impact of Urban Alchemy’s presence at a particular intersection. The study aimed to determine whether the organization’s presence was merely shifting crime to another location.

In an interview with The Examiner, he emphasized that the issue of displacement was crucial for the study’s success. For approximately a year, researchers have been sharing their initial findings. One question that frequently arose was, “Does this involve displacement?”

“We couldn’t discern some of the models we were using before,” Stuart stated. “Before making a definitive statement, it was crucial for us to address this issue.” The speaker expressed confidence and reassurance, stating that there are no concerns about displacement.

A 200-meter perimeter was established around each intersection covered by Urban Alchemy as a solution. According to Stuart, there has been a decrease in crime at the Urban Alchemy intersection, but an increase in other areas within the perimeter. Stuart suggests that it appears as if the crime has shifted or relocated.

Stuart has revealed that the next phase of the work involves investigating the factors behind Urban Alchemy’s success in reducing crime rates. Stuart intends to publish the study and have it reviewed by peers.

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