Author Archives: Bonnee Waldstein

About Bonnee Waldstein

Reporter, Glen Park News, San Francisco, CA

Notes from the Fairmount Heights Association Meeting

by Bonnee Waldstein

With the uptick in vehicular crime in Glen Park, particularly breakins, many concerned residents are gathering together to brainstorm the issues and solutions.  Captain McFadden of the Ingleside Station holds regular monthly community meetings that alternate between the Ingleside police station near Balboa Park, and neighborhoods within its jurisdiction.

There are about 103 officers on the Ingleside force, including plainclothes, a housing unit and investigators.

On this occasion, Captain McFadden was joined by Lt. Chris Schaffer of the swing watch (4 p.m. to 2 a.m.), and Sgt. David Maron.

On February 15, a neighborhood group, the Fairmount Heights Association, invited Captain McFadden to its meeting at the Police Academy. The association is an area within Glen Park comprised of the historic boundaries of the Fairmount tract.  It’s like an inverted triangle, so it’s difficult to characterize: roughly, 30th Street on the north; Dolores Street on the east; Arlington and Miguel Streets on the south; and Beacon Street on the west.

From 2015 to 2016, reported theft from vehicles in Fairmount Heights increased from 35 to 44 incidents; burglary decreased from 17 to 16; auto theft decreased from 28 to 22; other larceny decreased from 12 to 8.  There was one robbery incident during this period.

The captain cited Prop 47 as a possible contributing cause of vehicular crime — some felonies were recently reclassified as misdemeanors.  Perpetrators can work in teams, each one committing part of the crime, e.g., one smashes the window (car alarms might not be sensored for breaking windows), another steals contents, and a third might drive from the scene.  Each component  is treated as a misdemeanor rather than one felony crime.  If the perpetrators are caught, they are cited and have 30 days to appear in court.

The most “popular” stolen cars are old Toyotas, other Japanese cars, Chevys, and GMC trucks.  European cars are less prone to breakins because the keys are hard to duplicate and there’s not much of a market for chopped down models.

It’s then up to the DA or judge whether to prosecute, which may involve jail, restitution, classes, or some other punishment.  Victims have the right to request that the thief be prosecuted.  They might change their mind about proceeding with it when they learn that a young offender faces jail time.

In advocating for prosecution, it’s helpful if victims join together as a group to push for action.  Write to the judge on the case and speak as a victim in court.  If a victim is willing to talk, the case gets more priority.

Crime prevention is attempted in large part by patrol cars in the various sectors;  another method is the use of plainclothes officers. Police conduct field interviews following reports of suspicious activity and a Station Investigation Team does follow-up interviews after an incident.

Residents can take steps to deter vehicular and other crime.  Install security cameras.  In the garage, disable the button, add a lockable latch, remove the emergency rope attached to the gear lock, and don’t leave the garage door opener in the car.

Construction sites, of which there are many in Glen Park, can be quite vulnerable since they are unattended during non-work hours, especially weekends.  Again, security cameras and motion detectors can be vital.

Helpful phone numbers:  To report suspicious activity and people:  415-553-0123. Instead of 911 on cell phone, call 415-553-8090.

Other tips:  Put identifiable engraving on bikes and all personal property, even at home.  The police will call if they run a serial number on found property.  Note that no bicycle lock is 100% effective.  Back up all computer files on a separate drive or the cloud.

On the positive side, Captain McFadden said that Glen Park is safer than 99% of the city, noting that Bernal has twenty times the crime.  Like Glen Park, it has freeway access for getaways.  But Bernal attracts more “commuter” thieves because they’re more familiar with the access points such as Bayshore Boulevard.  On the other hand, once they arrive in Glen Park, they face a confusing maze of narrow twisting streets.

 

There have been many complaints about the Miguel Street “raceway.”  The Captain advises to call and be specific: Who is running a stop sign, when, which intersection?  Email the captain.  If you get no response, do it again — and again. Complaints are tracked through the emails and traffic units can be assigned to troublesome locations.

Google maps is being blamed for some of the dangerous driving through Glen Park.  The residential streets become thoroughfares and cars get sideswiped through speed and carelessness.

In order to initiate a car chase, there must be a violent felony.  The police won’t chase a car that’s evading a speeding ticket, for example;  the threat to public safety is not worth the risk.

email Captain McFadden at Joseph.McFadden@sfgov.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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New Leadership in District 8 and Glen Park

Photos by Michael Waldstein

In a coincidence of timing, Mayor Lee appointed a new District 8 Supervisor to replace Scott Wiener, who has moved on to the State Senate; and, in the January 26 meeting, Michael Rice capped his 12-year long run as president of the Glen Park Association.

MICHAEL RICE:

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Outgoing President Michael Rice

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Goodbye cake for Michael Rice

In the last of more than forty neighborhood meetings, Rice noted what an honor it has been to serve our community. At the same time, he said, “I’m happy to get some of my time back!” He also observed that it’s good for the neighborhood and the association to have new leadership.

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New GPA President Scott Stawicki

Rice listed a few of the issues he’s worked on over the years: the Glen Park Community Plan, the Glen Park Greenway, the improvements in Glen Canyon Park – while also noting the continuing challenges of transit and parking in our bustling neighborhood.

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New GPA Vice President Stephany Wilkes and outgoing President Michael Rice

Thus the annual election of officers ushered in a new president of the Glen Park Association, Scott Stawicki, who was formerly the vice president.

Other officers elected are: Stephany Wilkes, Vice President; Dennis Mullen, Treasurer; Heather World, Recording Secretary; Bonnee Waldstein, Corresponding Secretary, and Hilary Schiraldi, Membership Secretary.

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Membership Secretary Hilary Schiraldi

Stawicki paid tribute to Rice’s long service. “Whether you know it or not, Michael’s touched your life in many ways by his diligent work on behalf of our neighborhood. He’s got big shoes to fill.”

JEFF SHEEHY:

Newly appointed Supervisor Jeff Sheehy came to the meeting to introduce himself to the residents of Glen Park and to get a sense of their hopes and concerns. However, Sheehy has a great head start in that he’s lived in Glen Park since 2002. Along with his husband, he’s raising his 12 year-old daughter here; she is a student in one of San Francisco’s public schools.

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New D8 Supervisor Jeff Sheehy

Sheehy detailed some of his background. He’s been active in politics since 1994 when he served as president of the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, ending that stint in 2005. He was instrumental in passing the Equal Benefits Ordinance, which prohibits the City from contracting with entities that discriminate in providing benefits to employees with domestic partners. He is on the board the California Stem Cell Agency and is an LGBT/HIV activist.

He is a strong supporter of Scott Wiener and the work he’s done.

At the age of 60, Sheehy said he’s not after higher office, but he’s definitely going to run for the seat in 2018. At this point he just wants to work to solve the problems of District 8 and the City. He’s also motivated by the 2016 presidential election.

“Trump takes me back to 1980, when we thought there would be nuclear war and the environment was under attack by Reagan. Now the mask of amiability that Reagan had has been ripped off – the face matches the policies. The challenges we face are similar.”

Sheehy went on, “In the age of AIDS, beginning in1981, we were reviled. So many just wanted us to die. Now we have so much solidarity. Through perseverance and sacrifice, people got to know their communities, through love, not violence. Now, it’s about coming together for the City and to tone down the dissention in City Hall.”

Sheehy was peppered with questions and concerns from the audience. Among them:

  • The changing character of the neighborhood: “Monster” houses are being built. In particular, concern was voiced about development of the small wedge-shaped parcel on Diamond Street that used to be tended by the Garden Club. There will be a discretionary review of the building plan on March 9 at the Planning Commission.
  • Water backing up at Cayuga Street, with the heavy rains: This has been an ongoing problem and is now in litigation. “It’s not a situation that I would tolerate,” said Sheehy.
  • Traffic congestion in the city: The City has provided no leadership. They haven’t reduced their use of official cars. They need to be held accountable.
  • Safe, clean and reliable transit: With the MTA separate from the rest of city government, it’s very hard to have influence over policy and practices.
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New D8 Supervisor Jeff Sheehy

GREENWAY UPDATE:

Scott Stawicki noted the City’s policy to build public housing on city property, in light of the housing crisis. A large part of the proposed Greenway is DPW property. Scott Wiener helped kill that policy for the Greenway, but a lot of work needs to be done to improve it as a public space.

BIKE SHARING PROGRAM:

Paolo Cosulich-Schwartz, of Bay Area Bike Share, described a project that will be coming to Glen Park in 2018. A small pilot begun in downtown San Francisco three years ago will be expanding to many communities in the Bay Area. It’s a station-based system, which now has 30 stations but is projected to have 400 over the next three years, with a goal of 7,000 bikes within two years.

A major advantage of the program is that bicycles that are obtained in one station can be returned at another. There is now a thirty-minute limit on the use of a bike, so that it would need to be switched out at another station for longer trips.

For additional details about the program, and to suggest a station, go to http://www.bayareabikeshare.com.

A full presentation of the Bike Share Program will be held soon.

Bike Share Expansion Workshop:
Tuesday, February 7
, 6: 30-8:00pm
Excelsior Library
4400 Mission Street

RSVP via EventBrite by clicking here.
You can also suggest a station online at http://suggest.bayareabikeshare.com.

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Vehicular Crime In Glen Park Produces a Lot of Chatter

The Ingleside Station issues a list of criminal acts in Glen Park that are reported to police; it’s posted periodically on the Glen Park Bulletin Board Yahoo group site. A review of this report from January through September of this year indicates that vehicular crime is a major source of criminal activity in the neighborhood.

Here are the statistics:

Stolen vehicle: 34
Theft from vehicle: 20
Recovered vehicle: 15 (unknown relationship between stolen and recovered vehicles)
Hit and run to vehicle: 12
Vandalism of vehicle: 8 (possibly underreported?)
Stolen license plate: 4
Recovered license plate: 3 (unknown relationship between stolen and recovered license plates)
Stolen bicycle: 2 (possibly underreported?)

For the sake of completeness, other crimes reported in the same period are:

Burglary: 37
Fraud: 13
Theft: 7
Battery: 5
Robbery/assault: 3
Armed robbery: 4
Miscellaneous: 11

All told, there were one or more incidents reported 133 days out of 273; or, almost every other day.

Next Door Glen Park is a site where one can take the pulse of neighborhood concerns. Judging from the postings between August and September, a lot of electronic ink is being spilled in angst over many types of vehicular crime.
To put it in context, one post cited the 2015-2016 San Francisco Civil Grand Jury report on auto burglary (break-ins): “Auto burglaries in San Francisco in 2015 cost residents and visitors $19 million in stolen goods. There were 24,800 reported incidents (around 70 per day), a 5-year high, but only 484 arrests. This represented a 34% increase over 2014.”

Below is an edited sampling of recent postings on Next Door Glen Park and nearby neighborhoods.

“Last night our old (car) was broken into and keys and sundries were taken.”

“At least 8 cars had windows broken last night on Sanchez St. between Randal and 30th…Seems to be pure vandalism; one car had a tennis racquet bag and expensive sunglasses in it that were not taken.

“My neighbor’s car had 2 windows smashed this morning in front of 1745.”

“We went out and looked at our car after seeing this post. Our car was hit too.”

“Found the back window of my (car) broken this morning on Mateo between Chenery & Arlington. My bad for leaving stuff in the back in plain view…”

“We have lived on Arlington Street for 20 years. In the last 6 months, my car has been broken into 3 times and my husband’s car has been broken into twice…Only once was there anything visible in the cars.”

“I had been cleaning a (car) generator in my garage…I left the garage for 10 minutes and the generator was gone when I returned.”

“My car was hit – no note…this is the second time I’ve had to deal with a nit and run – a $500 deductible is no joke.”

“A thief approached our car and looked under rear tire well. Then approached my (other) car and looked under rear tire well. He then fiddled with his phone and the lights and the car turned on and he unlocked the car!”

“Wow, I heard this was an emerging threat…I bet this isn’t exclusive to any particular model, but could include any electronic key fob.”

“My car was electronically hacked multiple times before I got (the dealer) to disable the keyless entry/proximity feature…No more break-ins!”

“They are frequently amplifying the signal of your own key fobs in the house. Keep them far from the front of house and/or put them in the freezer.”

“The simplest solution is to buy a key fob pouch on Amazon.”

“Another vandal on Laidley Street last night…The bolts were taken off the wheels and one of the wheels was almost removed so the car was inoperable.”

“They were most likely preparing to steal your wheels and tires but aborted the job.”

“Had my 1994 (car) stolen last night on Badger Street…”

All is not without hope, however. Several posts were along these lines:

“A police officer recommended requesting more frequent patrols. They’ll patrol more frequently for a while, but then we need to request it again. I think they’re pretty responsive!”

“Thanks to everyone on the block for being so supportive. What a great community of folks looking out for each other!”

To read the civil grand jury report on auto burglary: http://www.civilgrandjury.sfgov.org

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