SF program rewards crime reporters

July 28, 2008 7:29:46 PM PDT
San Francisco recently rolled out another program to reward residents for reporting crime, but are these incentives actually making a difference?

San Francisco Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi is questioning the latest city effort to keep peace on the streets. A $1,000 reward will be given to those who anonymously report people with illegal guns. The campaign rolled out a couple of weeks ago, and so far, no one has responded.

There have also been no takers for the city's quarter of a million dollar reward for help solving 16 high profile murders, including the fatal shooting of anti-violence activist Terrell Rogers.

"It's not about the money. It's about making a cultural change in how people think and how feel about their willingness to step forward," says Emily Rogers, victim's sister.

Homicide Lieutenant Mike Stasko indicates he's seeing that change and points to an outpouring of tips in the recent triple homicide of the Bologna family. An arrest has been made in that case.

"I think a lot of people now are just doing the right thing," says Stasko.

"I'm glad that particular kind of outrage resulted in an arrest, but that has not been the norm in San Francisco," says Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi.

Mirkarimi says what is working in some parts of the city including Western Addition is the police department's so called zone enforcement.

It's law enforcement saturation of hot spots, combined with violence prevention efforts created by communities, including recreation programs like the one at the Booker T. Washington Community Center and outreach workers who patrol the streets.

"When I see them doing things I just go straight to them and talk to them," says Ivory Peterson, Community response Network.

There have been 58 murders so far this year, down from 65 this time last year. No one is sure what accounts for the drop, but everyone hopes the trend continues.


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