EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Mention the word “Jerusalem,” which is derived from the word “peace,” and anything but peace comes to mind. Yet the city of Jerusalem is safer by far than San Francisco, thanks to good policing and traditional life among both the Jewish and Arab populations.
The word “Jerusalem,” which is derived from the word “peace,” tends to evoke images of anything but peace. It suggests, instead, images of massive demonstrations pitting Palestinians against Israeli police, or of exploding buses and restaurants. Such images do, after all, reflect the new items reported by many of the foreign journalists who cover the city.
Mention the name “San Francisco,” however, and one’s mind is likely to conjure an image of joggers running on the Golden Gate Bridge against a perfect sunset over the Bay – or perhaps steep streets graced by famous bars and eating joints. One city evokes images of conflict, the other of tourism.
The truth is that Jerusalem lives up to its name rather than its image or reputation – and is safer by far than San Francisco. The two cities have similar population sizes of around 850,000. In 2014, a relatively violent year in Jerusalem, the number of homicides stood at 27, half the number of homicides in San Francisco. There was, of course, a crucial difference. In Jerusalem, 12 of the homicides were criminal, and the majority were either terrorists or those they were attacking. In one case, the victim was a bystander. In San Francisco, all those killed were either criminals or their victims.