San Francisoco sees summer spike in street crimes

July 28, 2010 7:41:35 PM PDT
San Francisco police are seeing what could be the beginning of a summer spike in street crimes, including an uptick in armed robberies.

The uptick in street crimes usually happens every summer, but last weekend there were more than two dozen incidents. Even more alarming, in most of the robberies, guns were used.

It was a busy weekend for criminals and police. Even normally quiet Fisherman's Wharf and Japantown were not spared.

There were 27 incidents on the crime blotter from Friday to Sunday. Three on Friday, nine incidents Saturday, 15 on Sunday.

"In the city of San Francisco, we average about seven or eight robberies a day," San Francisco Assistant Police Chief Jeff Godown said.

Godown is looking at strategies to fight the summer spike in crimes.

"It's a mixture of public education plus making sure we deploy resources and uniformed officers in those general areas, possibly using undercover officers if necessary," he said.

In all there were 14 armed robberies during the weekend. Guns were used in 12 of them. There were two shootings, three assaults and one carjacking.

They occurred mostly in the early morning and late evening hours when restaurants and clubs closed and customers were leaving.

Shawn Richard from the group Brothers Against Guns helped organize Midnight Basketball. He says many young people need summer programs and jobs to turn them away from crime.

Friday night was midnight basketball's kickoff, the same night the weekend crime spree began.

Raymond Devore, 17, is from Bayview. Heis one of more than 70 kids working this summer in the Garden Project at the county jail in San Bruno.

"It's nice to know at the end of the day I'm earning my money and I'm not doing anything illegal and I'm working with the government instead of against them," Devore said.

Participants earn money and learn life skills.

"And that's the thing I hear from all of them, if they weren't here then the only thing they would be doing is getting into trouble," program founder Catherine Sneed said. She founded the program 30 years ago.

Godown says many of the criminals are said to be in their early 20s. They know people are carrying cash and as well as iPods, iPads, iPhones and laptops.

Godown says people should always be aware of their surroundings when they are out late at night.


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