“At today’s Board of Supervisor’s meeting, Board President London Breed will introduce a drafting request for legislation creating a permanent city Reward Fund to pay up to $250,000 to those who provide information leading to an arrest and conviction in an unsolved murder case in San Francisco.
President Breed released the following statement:
“In the past six years, San Francisco has averaged about 50 homicides per year. Each one is a tragedy. Each one is a lost son, sister, father, or friend. Each one never should have happened. And each one deserves our every effort to bring justice.
We are, according to most metrics, the wealthiest big city in the country. And with that wealth comes some obligations. As the Bible says: ‘From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded.’ When it comes to the worst crimes our city faces, we should put our wealth to use—both to help the families of victims and get the most violent offenders off the streets.
The city has at times offered rewards in specific cases. But it’s done on an ad hoc basis, and there’s no established fund or consistent process. This can lead to the perception that some cases are more important than others, which they are not.
I am proposing a permanent city fund to provide rewards of up to $250,000 to anyone who brings information that leads to an arrest and conviction in an unsolved murder case. The legislation will establish specific criteria, because in many cases our police department solves cases without the need for a reward.
So the fund should be limited to homicide cases that have gone unsolved for one year, in which the police have exhausted all investigative leads, and for which the Chief of Police has, in his or her discretion, determined that public assistance and a reward is necessary. The Reward Fund should be subject to annual appropriations with money from previous years carrying forward.
All in all, this will require a small amount of taxpayer money, because—thankfully—we’re talking about a small number of cases. But in those cases, we should be doing everything we can. And in those cases,
this reward can make a world of difference.
San Francisco actually already has one such witness reward fund. It’s in Section 640 of the Police Code, and it deals with cases of people pulling false fire alarms. If we can do it for fire alarms, surely we can—and should—do it for unsolved murders.”