Skip to main content

Is crime at San Francisco’s Outside Lands on the rise? A look at the numbers

The fog rolls in during the Outside Lands 2023 Music and Arts Festival held in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco on Sunday. | Source: Courtesy Alive Coverage

Outside Lands 2023 was about as predictable as it gets: Over 70,000 festivalgoers gathered in Golden Gate Park for three nights of live music, shivering as the fog rolled in over headlining sets by opening night’s Kendrick Lamar and Sunday night’s Odesza. 

The festival ended on a chilling note, however: A woman’s body was found in a duffel bag close to Outside Lands’ northern entrance on Sunday. The Standard also received a number of reports from teens and worried parents that their cellphones were stolen over the festival weekend, while social media posts said gunshots could be heard along 19th Avenue after the festival on Sunday night.

But police data doesn’t show a spike in crime reports during this year’s festival.

READ MORE: An Unauthorized Hippie, $20 Fries and Other Crazy Things We Saw at Outside Lands 2023

Festival attendees sit on a grassy hillside while Megan Thee Stallion performs at the Lands End stage during Day Three of Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park on Sunday. | Source: Morgan Ellis/The Standard

This year was actually a relatively tame Outside Lands weekend, according to police reports. Across the whole city, police clocked roughly 132 instances of larceny theft—a 64% decline from last year’s festival count of 363 theft incidents. 

In the three stations covering neighborhoods near Outside Lands—Taraval, Richmond and Park—police reported 61 incidents of theft. By comparison, there were 111 nearby theft incidents at last year’s festival.  

Police said they cannot speculate on what may have caused lower crime reports this year. 

“As in years past, SFPD was staffed up for the weekend and deployed officers to patrol inside and outside of the festival area to ensure the safety and security of concert goers,” police spokesperson Kathryn Winters said. 

Still, a number of crime reports appeared to come from Golden Gate Park and festival grounds: The Standard counted at least 40 reports of larceny theft, six instances of assault and four counts of fraud—described as fraudulent use of an ATM or credit card—in the park during the Outside Lands weekend.

Attendees stand in the Golden Gate Park Polo Field during Day One of Outside Lands on Aug. 11, 2023. | Source: Morgan Ellis/The Standard

Only one robbery incident was reported near festival premises. The robbery report said it involved a knife on Lincoln Way near 25th Avenue, a few blocks away from the festival’s main entrance, according to an Aug. 11 call to police. 

These statistics do not include crime incidents that were not reported to police, however. 

“The festival has an extensive security presence throughout the weekend,” a festival spokesperson said. “The safety of patrons is the No. 1 priority for the festival.” 

Robotaxis, on the other hand, had a tough weekend at the festival.

Cruise cars got stuck along Golden Gate Park as the driverless vehicles struggled to navigate throngs of people leaving the festival at night. And at least 10 of the robotaxis stalled in North Beach Friday night, although the company blamed pedestrian interference and “limited bandwidth issues” for their delay in moving the immobilized Cruise cars from North Beach.