Elon Musk Raises Alarm Over ‘Horrific’ Crime In San Francisco After Tech Founder Stabbed To Death
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 24: Tesla CEO Elon Musk leaves the Phillip Burton Federal Building on January 24, 2023 in San Francisco, California. Musk testified at a trial regarding a lawsuit that has investors suing Tesla and Musk over his August 2018 tweets saying he was taking Tesla private with funding that he had secured. The tweet was found to be false and cost shareholders billions of dollars when Tesla's stock price began to fluctuate wildly allegedly based on the tweet.
Justin Sullivan via Getty Images

Elon Musk drew attention to rising violent crime in San Francisco after Bob Lee, the founder of payment firm CashApp, was murdered in what appears to have been a random stabbing attack.

The San Francisco Police Department said in a release that a 43-year-old man succumbed to stab wounds in the early hours of Tuesday morning. The death of Lee, who was the chief product officer of cryptocurrency startup MobileCoin upon his demise, was confirmed by MobileCoin chief executive Josh Goldbard.

“Bob was a dynamo, a force of nature,” Goldbard said in a statement. “Bob was the genuine article. He was made for the world that is being born right now, he was a child of dreams, and whatever he imagined, no matter how crazy, he made real. We will miss you Bob. We love you.”

Homicides and property crimes have spiked over the past three years in San Francisco following the lockdown-induced recession and calls from prominent officials, including San Francisco Democratic Mayor London Breed, to defund law enforcement.

Former UFC champion Jake Shields, a friend of Lee, noted on social media that the entrepreneur was killed in a “good” part of San Francisco. When he expressed hope that the death of a “high profile tech guy” would bring attention to the public safety problems in the city, Musk responded that crime in San Francisco is indeed “horrific.”

“Very sorry to hear that. Many people I know have been severely assaulted,” Musk remarked. “Even if attackers are caught, they are often released immediately.”

Musk, the chief executive of Twitter, has frequently visited the company’s downtown San Francisco headquarters in recent months after he bought the platform. He tagged San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins and asked whether the city is “taking stronger action to incarcerate repeat violent offenders.”

Jenkins, who replaced former San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin at the beginning of this year, began her tenure by firing several of her predecessor’s staffers to “restore a sense of safety in San Francisco by holding serious and repeat offenders accountable and implementing smart criminal justice reforms.” She did not reply directly to Musk but expressed condolences for Lee and said that no arrests have yet been made in connection to his death.

Lee is survived by two young daughters who, as Shields noted in a separate tweet, now “have to grow up with no father.”

Violent crime in San Francisco has been blamed for severely diminishing the quality of life and contributing to a mass exodus of residents and businesses. Pharmacy giant Walgreens closed several locations in the city, while technology retailer Best Buy has struggled with safety issues related to organized retail crime. Technology companies such as Tesla and Oracle were among the 352 companies that moved their headquarters from northern California over the past four years, according to a report from the Hoover Institution, while nearly 8% of current residents plan to move elsewhere within the next year, surging past every other major American city, according to data from the Census Bureau.

Other prominent entrepreneurs have previously drawn attention to crime in San Francisco. Joe Lonsdale, the founder of defense software company Palantir and venture capital fund 8VC, criticized Breed last year after she said that the “structure” of downtown San Francisco has “shifted.” The executive translated the statement to mean “dozens of businesses have fled” because “their workers are terrified of being assaulted” by “criminals and mentally-ill homeless.”

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