New strategy to fight crime in SF

May 20, 2008 10:58:54 AM PDT
A new crime-fighting strategy is being proposed for San Francisco. It is one that would shut down nearly half of the city's neighborhood police stations.

The owner of the tenderloin's "Brooklyn Pizza Shop" says the place runs, crime-free, because right around the corner, is the tenderloin police station.

"That's right, it's comfort to everybody and we feel safe when the police station is near us," said pizza Shop owner Adli Najar.

But a report presented to the police commission, recommended San Francisco consolidates its 10 districts into five larger ones.

It also recommends a new $40 to $50 million sub station be built to replace the current central, southern, northern and Tenderloin districts.

Even though this station may not be here, the report says consolidation would eliminate duplicate jobs, freeing up more officers to hit the streets.

But it would also mean the loss of the Tenderloin's Police Station Community Room.

"Now things have vastly improved over the last ten years since we got the police station there," said Tenderloin resident David Villalobos.

"You know what? I've been in San Francisco all my life and I never knew that was even there" said Tenderloin resident Donna Beal.

The Police Officer's Union says the neighborhood stations are, for the most part, security blankets. It agrees the department could be run more efficiently with fewer sub stations. but there's a harsh reality.

"The combination of the price tag and the PR of trying to educate the public on a new way of doing things through law enforcement is going to be an extremely steep hill to climb," said Gary Delagnes from the San Francisco Police Officer's Association.

"What I'm hoping is that the public give the study a good listen, here are the arguments, and then make up your minds should be the future of policing in San Francisco when it comes to district boundaries," said San Francisco Commission V.P. Joseph Marshall.

The $226,000 dollar study was conducted by the Massachusetts-based public Safety Strategies Group.

It was presented to the commission for the first time on Monday. But it's just the beginning of a process that will last throughout the year, and include plenty of public feedback.


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