From our friends over in College Hill:
To: “College Hill” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Tuesday, January 29, 2013 2:33:39 AM
Subject: College Hill News: Crime alert * Community Safety Forum on Wednesday at BHNC * How to protect yourself * SFPD numbers to add to your cellphone
As you’ve probably heard, violent muggings and armed robberies are on the rise all over the city, but especially in neighborhoods with easy freeway access—like ours. What are these thieves after? Your wallet is nice, but your smartphone is even better, especially if you’re distractedly staring down at it or have your headphones plugged into it and don’t notice them approaching.
SFPD says thieves are typically in pursuit of iPhones, which have a street value of $300 (for an iPhone 5) and can command up to $1,000 when resold in Asia. To get their hands on this hot tech commodity, hoodie-wearing thieves have been traveling in packs of two or three plus a getaway driver, and recently they’ve been brandishing a gun—even in broad daylight.
So what can we do to protect ourselves? You may have seen orange SFPD Crime Alert and Don’t Be A Target fliers going up around the neighborhood; I’ve listed those tips below.
But first I want to make sure you know about this Wednesday’s Community Safety Forum at the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center. Supervisors Scott Wiener and David Campos and SFPD Captain Tim Falvey of our Ingleside Station will be there, as will Supervisor Avalos (whose district has also been impacted), a representative of SF SAFE Neighborhood Watch, and likely more City officials. Here are the details:
Community Safety Forum
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center
515 Cortland Ave.
Please join us to address the recent increase of violent crimes in our neighborhood.
Special Guests: SFPD Ingleside Captain Falvey,
Supervisors Campos, Avalos, Wiener, and SF SAFE
Invited: Mayor’s Director of Violence Prevention Services, Diana Olive-Aroche
This is our chance to come together as a community to address our concerns and work on solutions.
For more information, please contact
BHNC’s Director of Community Engagement,
(415) 206-2140 ext. 130
I’ve attended a few community meetings in the past couple of weeks, and SFPD Captain Tim Falvey spoke at two of them and Supervisor Wiener spoke at one. The focus of these meetings has been on community safety, what we can do, and what SFPD and the City are doing.
Here’s how SFPD recommends protecting yourself:
• Don’t have your cell phone, iPad/tablet, or earbuds visible when you’re on the street, on Muni, or on BART.
• Write down your phone/iPad’s serial number. Or register them with Leads Online, a website that eBay now runs all listed items through to unearth stolen goods that have been put up for auction:http://www.leadsonline.com/main/index.php
• Turn on your Find My iPhone setting (to help SFPD track it if stolen): Settings \ iCloud \ Find My iPhone \ On
• Walk with a companion.
• Don’t have your phone or wallet out while you’re walking—stay alert.
• Choose well-lit streets. Report dark streets and dead streetlights to 311 (more on this below).
• Leave your porch light on to help augment streetlights (more on this below).
Program these numbers into your cell phone:
• 911/Emergency: (415) 553-8090
• Dispatch, for reporting suspicious activity: (415) 553-0123
Here’s what our SFPD Ingleside Station is doing:
• Captain Falvey and his officers are concentrating on the 3Es—and you can help:
Enforcement: Increasing patrols in hot spots. The Ingleside Station’s patrol approach includes pinpointing recent crimes on a map and asking officers to cruise by that area when they’re not on a call. Additional traffic enforcement officers have also been positioned in areas with recent robberies. Saturating an area with officers means that they can be present to hear a victim call out for help or to catch a car driving erratically with its lights off—and it could be the getaway car. Also: 8 more newly minted cops are joining the Ingleside Station, having graduated from the SF Police Academy this past Friday.
Environment: If an area looks lawless and untended, it attracts crime and public health/safety is threatened—like last Monday, when a fire was started under the Richland Bridge. DPW, DPH’s Homeless Outreach Team, and SFPD are working to improve maintenance and patrol of areas such as the Bernal Cut Path, reduce its green screening, and remove the encampments under the Richland and Highland Bridges while making sure that campers get access to City services. As of this past Saturday, all of the encampments under the Richland and Highland Bridges have been cleaned up. It was a huge amount of work, all performed by DPW crews with SFPD by their side, and all with community health and safety in mind.
See something that needs the City’s attention? Please call it in to 311, then email us with the tracking number and we’ll help keep track of it.
Education: Informing the community of recent crimes so residents can take steps to protect themselves from being a target. With that goal in mind, here’s more info:
Recent robberies have been more violent. Should you blow a whistle? Should you fight back?
At the Glen Park Association’s meeting, a neighbor asked SFPD Captain Falvey: “If I’m approached in a threatening way, should I blow the whistle on my key chain to attract attention? And should I resist giving up my purse and instead fight back?”
Captain Falvey replied: “Do your own threat assessment. In some of these recent attacks, the attackers are going straight to acting on violence. [Possibly with the intention of terrifying the victims so that they can’t identify their attacker—which then makes crimes difficult for the DA’s office to prosecute and win.] It’s better to be a good witness.
“If you see a weapon, understand the likelihood of being hurt. You can replace stolen property. Let them take your property—then blow the whistle. Or yell, Fire!” [People will come out of their houses if they think their property is being threatened. And perhaps a neighbor will look out at and see the getaway car’s license plate or get a suspect description.]
SFPD Captain Falvey adds these tips:
• If a car is double-parked and you don’t know whose it is, call SFPD to report it as a suspicious vehicle: (415) 553-0123.
• Don’t worry about labeling someone as “suspicious.” Call SFPD and let them look into it: (415) 553-0123.
• An easy test for whether you should call in something you see at a neighbor’s house: Would you call if it were happening at your house?
• If you see a streetlight flickering off at night, go check out its yellow ID tag in daylight and call it in to 311. The 311 operator will be able to tell you whether the pole belongs to PG&E or the SFPUC (Public Utilities Commission), and they will put in a service request for it to be repaired within 48 hours. Not repaired in 48 hours? Email me and we’ll let Supervisor Wiener’s office know (they are helping us
• Don’t think there are enough or bright enough streetlights on your block? Captain Falvey, the Community Police Advisory Board, Supervisors Wiener and Campos, and your CHNA board feel the same way and are working with the PUC to light up the dark spots—like the Bernal Cut Path.
• In the meantime, it has been suggested that neighbors try to keep their porch lights on—or install lighting if they don’t have it. Because even where there are functioning streetlights, the poles are tall, their sodium bulbs don’t cast a wide swath of light, and they do not penetrate the canopy of unmaintained street trees. Conversion to LED streetlights is the eventual plan, but that work isn’t scheduled to be started until December 2013.
Join your block’s Neighborhood Watch group—or start one with SF SAFE:
• SF SAFE (Safety Awareness For Everyone) is a community crime prevention and public safety program that’s been working with SFPD and other City agencies since 1976 to help prevent crime and to help San Franciscans protect themselves from becoming victims: http://sfsafe.org
• SF SAFE says: The most effective way to reduce neighborhood crime is for neighbors to get acquainted, and to work together toward the goal of making their neighborhood safer. Neighborhood Watch groups can help accomplish this:http://www.sfsafe.org/services/neighborhood-watch
1/30 at 6 p.m.: Community Safety Forum with SFPD Ingleside Captain Tim Falvey, Supervisors Scott Wiener and David Campos, and more at the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center: 515 Cortland Ave.; 415/206-2140 ext. 130.
2/16 at 10 a.m.: Monthly ‘Third Saturday’ Clean-Up of our Bernal Cut Greenbelt Path Meet up at the Park Street Garden. We quickly spread out to the Highland Bridge and north to Appleton/Mission and the Lavender Garden, or south to College. Please wander the path to find us if you’d like some company while you work. Bags and some gloves are provided; please bring gloves and clippers (if you have them).
2/19 at 7 p.m.: Ingleside SFPD Captain’s community meeting with safety updates from SFPD, SFFD, and other important city agencies. Ingleside Police Station: 1 Sgt John V. Young Lane (in Balboa Park); 415/404-4000.
Be safe out there, and keep an eye out for each other.
All good wishes,
Secretary, College Hill Neighborhood Association