The San Francisco Police Department Golden Gate Division held one of their bi-monthly Compstat meeting at the Bay View Opera House Wednesday. Compstat, short for computer statistics, is a crime control model implemented one year ago by the SFPD. Recent crime statistics were reported to Chief George GascÃ³n and discussed by police managers representing four divisions – Ingleside, Bayview, Richmond, and Taraval. As with the last Compstat meeting we reported on, many types of crimes appear to be on the rise, as arrests decreased.
Robberies nearly doubled this month in the Ingleside District, which includes the area south of Cesar Chavez Street to the San Mateo County line, and the area west from Highway 101 to Faxon Avenue. The numbers went from 17 violent robberies in June to 33 in July, with most suspects being teams of 2 or 3 people coming by car from outside the district. Captain Louis Cassanego noted that these “rat pack robberies” that were occurring mainly on the Mission Street corridor are now “wiggling around on us”. The solution? Officers are on the lookout for suspicious seeming cars and stopping them on traffic violations. Arrests for firearms have gone up because of the increase in searching of cars and houses.
In the Bayview District, officers are dealing with the aftermath of Stephen Powell’s death. Powell was shot dead at the Pride festivities on June 26th in the Castro but was a resident of Bayview and allegedly had friends in local gangs. Powell himself was not known to be in a gang and officers are unsure if the shots were even meant for him. However, his death has spawned fights between two gangs in Bayview – a matter that officers are trying to deal with by targeting the known suspects for anything such as “stepping off the curb”.
Also of note for the Bayview PD is their success in deploying foot beat officers in the 3rd Street Corridor. Two officers received applause as they approached the podium to discuss their experiences patrolling by bike and foot. They attribute some of their success to their increased presence on Muni, where they catch a lot of people for fare evasion. The Police Chief took that moment to let them know that, come fall, they will be expected to help round up truant kids as part of a new anti-truancy program aimed at getting kids back to school.
In the Richmond District, which includes 90% of Golden Gate Park, much discussion was given to the quality of life issues in the park at night. Captain Richard Corriea claims that the long-term homeless population has decreased and the transient population should taper off more in the winter. It is illegal to sleep or set up camp in the park but it is okay to be there after dark. Chief GascÃ³n facetiously asked if it’s okay to stay there as long as you have your eyes open all night.
The Taraval District, which extends west from Twin Peaks to the Pacific Ocean, south to the County line and north to Lincoln Way, has had a slight fluctuation in robberies from May to July. Robbery numbers increased and decreased by a few instances each month from 19 in May, 14 in June, and 16 in July. However, arrests for robberies steadily declined from 10 to 5 to 1. Officers attribute that trend to the isolated residential nature of the district. Captain John Sanford Jr. said that recent victims are mostly Asian males carrying cash. Given that monolingual people are most often victimized in this neighborhood, officers have been visiting radio stations and businesses that serve these communities to offer preventative information.
Accidents involving bicycles went up 400% last month in the Taraval District. To prevent this, officers have begun to cite bicyclists for traffic violations more frequently. Public education was also suggested as a means to ease the traffic tension between cyclists, pedestrians, and vehicle drivers.
The benefits of increased data and information sharing were stressed by many officers in each district who say that getting everyone on the same page has worked wonders for their productivity. Chief GascÃ³n pushed the need to record the time and effort that goes into arrests and more importantly, communicate that information out to the public.