SFDA'S OFFICE ACCOMPLISHMENTS
- Overall trial conviction rate of 83%
- Homicide Unit trial conviction rate of 90%
- Gang Unit trial conviction rate of 100%
- Domestic Violence conviction rate of 81%
- General Felonies Unit trial conviction rate of 81%
- Misdemeanor Unit Trial conviction rate of 83%
- Sexual assault unit, with SFPD, shut down three brothels in 2014
- William Jones found guilty for 2009 murder of a Louisiana tourist
District Attorney George Gascón
George Gascón is the District Attorney for the City and County of San Francisco. He has earned a national reputation as a criminal justice visionary that uses evidence based practices to lower crime and make communities safer. He is the first Latino to hold the office in San Francisco and is the nation’s first police chief to become District Attorney.
Gascón has focused on making San Francisco the safest large city in America by working to implement a modern justice system that focuses on crime prevention, victims, and violent offenders. Throughout his thirty year career in law enforcement he has successfully lowered crime by taking a surgical approach to crime and offenders, and by seeking the right amount of intervention to change behavior and improve public safety. Despite a traditional prosecutor’s interaction with crime being largely reactive, District Attorney Gascón has put significant emphasis and resources into crime prevention. One less crime means one less tragedy, and one less victim.
Since taking office, District Attorney Gascón has focused staff resources on more serious and violent offenders. In fact, drug prosecutions went from 63 percent of the office’s felony case load in 2009 down to 26 percent in 2013, allowing more resources to be focused on serious and violent crime. This has caused convictions for assault, domestic violence, and robbery to increase. Additionally, homicides are down 36 percent in the first six months of 2014, and felony assault, gun and robbery prosecutions are up 14 percent, 17 percent and 9 percent respectively from 2012 to 2013.
Looking to find alternatives to incarceration for low-level offenders, District Attorney Gascón created the nation’s first Alternative Sentencing Program to support prosecutors in assessing risk and determine the most appropriate course of action for each case. The goal is to protect victims and the community by addressing offenders’ risk factors in order to break the cycle of crime and reduce recidivism.
In addition, District Attorney Gascón launched the Neighborhood Courts and Neighborhood Prosecution Program as a way to keep low-level offenders from entering the criminal justice system. The program takes non-serious cases away from overcrowded courtrooms and into the community where trained neighborhood stakeholders can ensure lawbreakers are accountable to victims and the community without criminalizing first time low-level offenders.
Under District Attorney Gascón’s leadership, San Francisco created the first Sentencing Commission in California with the goal of reforming sentencing guidelines by applying evidence based practices to prosecutions.
In addition to initiatives aimed at increasing the safety of SanFrancisco’s communities and reforming California’s criminal justice system, District Attorney Gascón is regarded as a leader in the effort to end the global epidemic of smartphone theft. In partnership with the New York State Attorney General and the Mayor of London, District Attorney Gascón launched the Secure Our Smart phones initiative in 2013 in response to the growing number of violent smartphone thefts. The coalition now boasts over 300 public safety leaders, consumer advocates and lawmakers. Since the formation of the coalition in June of 2013, the manufacturers that sell 97percent of all smartphones sold in the United States have agreed to implement technology that research suggests will end the epidemic of smartphone theft.
A former high school dropout, District Attorney Gascón understands the importance of keeping kids in school to reduce violence and prevent crime. In partnership with the San Francisco Unified School District,the District Attorney’s Office has launched innovative programs to reduce truancy, increase mentoring opportunities for youth, and reduce bullying.
District Attorney Gascón is also working to address crime under reporting by breaking down cultural and language barriers that prevent victims and witnesses from engaging with law enforcement. He expanded his office’s multilingual Victims Services Unit beyond the Hall of Justice and into community centers in the Mission, Chinatown, Tenderloin and Bayview Hunters Point.
District Attorney Gascón is a known innovator for his use of technology to prevent and predict crime. He improved the COMPSTAT system at the Los Angeles Police Department and introduced the system to the San Francisco Police Department during his tenure as Police Chief. District Attorney Gascón believes in using well developed metrics and technology to drive organizational performance and improve public safety. He is currently working on launching a version called “DA Stat” to the District Attorney’s Office.
District Attorney Gascón’s thirty years in law enforcement have taken him through the ranks of the Los Angeles Police Department from a patrol officer all the way to Assistant Chief. He was Chief of Police in Mesa, Arizona and Chief of Police in San Francisco. In addition to his criminal justice work at the local, state, and national level, District Attorney Gascón has worked on public safety initiatives in Latin America and the Middle East. He is a board member of the Council of State Government’s Justice Center, a graduate of the FBI’s National Executive Institute, and a member of the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government’s Executive Session on Policing and Public Safety.
District Attorney Gascón has earned a Bachelor of Arts in History from California State University, Long Beach, and a Juris Doctor Degree from Western State University, College of Law.