Thanks to Chris Faust of Upper Noe Neighbors (and more) for writing up this summary of the D8 Safety Meeting held Thursday:
District 8 Safety Meeting
January 14, 2016 – 6 pm
Saint Philip the Apostle community room
725 Diamond St. San Francisco
Jean Elle of NBC Bay Area was there. The story is at
The meeting had over 100 neighbors. The room was full.
Supervisor Scott Wiener
Chief Greg Suhr
Captain Joseph McFadden (Ingleside Station)
Captain Daniel Perea (Mission Station)
Captain John Sanford (Park Station)
Karen Fletcher, chief probation officer
Mayor Lee, as a resident of District 8 (Glen Park), shared frustration with the recent spate of property crimes and expressed empathy with neighbors who are concerned about safety. Everyone wants to live in a safe neighborhood. His peeves are repeat offenders and releasing offenders without rehabilitation. He promoted use of the fob guard to prevent thieves from being able to use an electronic device to remotely force the car key in your house from unlocking your car doors on the street.
Wiener and Suhr talked about ongoing efforts to secure funding for the police academy. SFPD should have 2000 officers but is operating at only 1700. That cuts into the amount of foot patrols and traffic enforcement.
Captain Perea said the biggest challenges for Mission Station are robbery, homelessness and street crime.
Captain Sanford said Park Station redistributed forces at night to tackle crime in the Duboce area. They broke up the huge encampment behind Safeway notorious for needle drug use and other crimes.
Captain McFadden announced that he will hold his monthly Ingleside Station community meeting featuring his Public Safety Roadshow next Wednesday January 20 at 7 pm at Upper Noe Rec Center. He urges citizens to report crimes to SFPD, not just post them on NextDoor. Be sure to make note of details of clothing and cars when reporting so officers can more readily identify your perp. And please send SFPD photos and video of suspicious persons and criminal activity. The wigged bandit was picked up just hours after Captain McFadden received a photo of the burglar and shared it with his officers.
Karen Fletcher, chief probation officer, says that SF has 4300 adults under supervision/parole. She has a staff of 155 of whom 100 are sworn officers. The percentage of probation vs incarceration is higher in SF since rural counties tend to keep more perpetrators of serious crimes in lockup. But SF is all about rehabilitation and promoting restitution.
Supervisor Wiener and SFPD assured us that while property crime is up significantly recently, violent crime is actually down 50% from the 1990’s. Suhr reminded us too of the rash of auto break-ins back then, when the target was car stereos, especially Blaupunkts. Technology adapted with removable faceplates and then chips that matched the stereo to the car which made stereos non-functional when removed. Today’s targets are computers and electronics, which are easy to fence and less risky than dealing drugs. Police and technology are adjusting to the new challenge.
Suhr reminded us also to be wary of buying into hype and spin created on social media that creates the appearance of an epidemic. There is no increase in random assaults. Events that are construed as connected by media postings are most often discovered to be unrelated.
In general, citizens spoke to thank police for their work but are still frustrated with the frequency of car break-ins, auto theft, dumped vehicles, burglaries and assaults. They seek ways to be proactive, to work together as a community to support SFPD, not just block by block.
1. What’s the best way to interact with SFPD?
Call or email. Emailing your captain is especially useful for repetitious low-level crimes. Send in photos and video too if available. Captains will deal with them.
2. How can we be safer walking at night?
Do not wear headphones. Be more aware. Report broken street lighting, dark spots, and any trees or other blocking lamps. Urge your neighbors to leave their porch lights on at night. Form or join a Neighborhood Watch or citizen patrol group. Look out for each other.
3. Is Next Door monitored by SFPD?
No. There are too many NextDoor groups. SFPD cannot resource officers to that when they are needed on patrol. 911, or even email, is a better way to report crimes.
(A gentleman mentioned that NextDoor conveys the unhappiness in the community and that SFPD would benefit enormously from seeing this.)
4. Can officers patrol neighborhoods rather than just driving by?
Traditionally, officers have never walked beats in residential areas, only in commercial corridors. Staffing levels don’t allow for more beat cops but citizens can improve their relationship with the officers who cruise their neighbors. Find out who they are. Invite them to block parties and community meetings. Make your neighborhood personal for the officers.
5. Why is 911 service so bad?
There are not enough 911 operators. This is a recognized problem that is being addressed.
6. Who is doing all of these crimes, the homeless, gangs, out-of-towners?
While statistics are not conclusive, the bulk of crimes can not be pinned on any group. The idea that people come to San Francisco to prey on us is an urban myth.
7. Can police step up enforcement of Sit-Lie law?
Officers are directed to get out of their cars and walk the beat more, particularly in the mornings, to discover and deal with folks who are sleeping in hiding spots. Making an arrest takes an officer back to the station and off the street so the need for officers to be out responding to emergencies and violent crimes is a consideration in enforcement. Don’t expect police to raid tent encampments in the pouring rain. We are still the City of St. Francisco, after all.