Bayview homeowners blame liquor store for crime

September 23, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
In San Francisco, some neighbors say they feel like they're being held captive in their own homes. They say this week's shooting of a 5-year-old girl proves what they've been telling police, that a liquor store on their block is a magnet for criminals.

The complaints come from homeowners in a condominium building on Third Street. They bought into the city's promise that the Third Street corridor in the Bayview would be revitalized, instead they're afraid to walk on the street because of all of the crime.

The Bay Oaks Condominium building opened about a year and a half ago. Seven of 18 units have been sold. The homeowners call it an oasis. It is an oasis on Third and Palou, perhaps the most dangerous block in the Bayview.

"It's almost like you're living under siege. You go into your building and you don't go out unless you're going to work or you go to directly wherever you're going," said "Steve".

Three homeowners agreed to speak with ABC7 about their life there, but for obvious reasons, they don't want to be identified.

"Whenever I step out the door, I feel there's danger. I don't feel comfortable standing on the T-line platform waiting for the bus," said "James". "I don't walk up and down the neighborhood. We don't walk our dog."

Their building is right next to Torino's Grocery and Liquor Store. Right outside the store is where a 5-year -old girl was shot earlier this week, walking home from school. A stray bullet from a shootout pierced her leg. The homeowners say the storefront has become a hangout for drug dealers and street thugs.

"On any given day I go home, about five to seven people are standing in front of my door, blocking access to the actual door," said "Abitha".

Steve is a veteran who served in the Gulf War. He says it's worse in the neighborhood.

"Someone is gunning for someone else and you end up getting hit. After you served a tour in the gulf, you come back and get killed in front of Torino Market," said Steve. "And the owner of the business, quite frankly, he refuses to do anything about it. If Torinos Market was somewhere in the neighborhood like Pacific Heights, it wouldn't be there."

"We need to identify that it is a problem and we're going to attack it," said Mayor Ed Lee.

We took the homeowners' complaints to Mayor Ed Lee. He says he's already talked to the police chief and Supervisor Mahlia Cohen, who represents Bayview.

"We'll be talking to the owner of that store and working in cooperation with them about how it can be less of a hangout and more of a contribution to the neighborhood," said Lee.

Lee told San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr will also initiate code enforcement on the liquor store, which means they can order the owners to clean up their act or even shut them down. All of this is good news to the homeowners who say they've seen no action against the store, even though they've been talking to city officials for months.


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