SF launches neighborhood court program for low level crimes

May 17, 2011 9:22:22 PM PDT
An innovative neighborhood courts program was launched in San Francisco on Tuesday.

The Neighborhood Prosecution Program is designed to bring a quick resolution to community crimes. Much of the focus will be on first-time offenders who committed non-violent crimes, like vandalism or petty theft.

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon hopes the program will break the cycle of crime and save taxpayers money. Right now, the average case costs $1,500 for a misdemeanor, compared to just $300 in a neighborhood court.

"The goal of the program is to take a lot of low-level offenses and decriminalize some of those offenses, but at the same time it's also to become more efficient to make sure neighborhood issues that are not being addressed fully get addressed and they get addressed in a timely basis," said Gascon.

Anyone who successfully meets the terms of their hearing will leave with a clean record.

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