Here's what's coming to San Francisco's Capp St. to curb alleged sex work, violence

Stephanie Sierra Image
Thursday, May 11, 2023
Here's what's coming to SF street infamous for alleged sex work
New collapsible bollards are coming to San Francisco's Capp Street to curb alleged sex work and violence crowding the area.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Another temporary solution to a decades-old problem is coming to San Francisco's Capp St. Construction began Tuesday to install collapsible steel bollards to curb alleged sex work crowding the area.

The new barriers will replace the existing cement barricades that were put up two months ago. The move comes after a huge push from residents in the area who were fed up with the alleged sex work, noise and violence on their streets. San Francisco Public Works began drilling eight holes into the ground to mark the installation spots that will house the bollards along four blocks of Capp St. from 18th to 22nd.

The agency says this is not a permanent street closure, but will be in place until further notice. Public Works is aiming to have the bollards installed within two weeks.

Due to the underground utilities, more time-consuming hand-digging of the sites is required to keep the utilities from being damaged; additional foundation work also is required, the agency told the I-Team.

EXCLUSIVE: SF residents say this street has turned into 'Las Vegas Strip' with alleged sex workers

"It's like every night pimps and prostitutes come and take our street hostage and neighbors are shut in." Here's what a group of San Francisco residents witness on a nightly basis.

"I can't wait," said Emily, a neighbor who lives on Capp. "Now it's quiet, there's just local traffic, people can sleep, and we feel safer."

The barricade upgrade comes after concerns from fire officials the barriers will impact emergency response times. Lt. Jonathan Baxter with the San Francisco Fire Dept. says police, fire, SFMTA, along with community groups have decided on a plan to limit delays to 911 calls for service.

"The barriers that are being placed can be removed within a matter of seconds to one minute depending on the circumstances that are going to be present during the time," said Lt. Baxter.

Baxter says the fire department is concerned about any impact to response times as emergency crews have four to six minutes to arrive before patient care starts deteriorating. In the event of an emergency, first responders will be able to utilize either a key or remote device to collapse the bollards within one minute or less to allow emergency vehicles to enter.

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"Everything else has been sort of temporary and it looks kinda bad," said neighbor Mark. "This could be a permanent solution."

Neighbors in the area told the I-Team the barricades have significantly improved the safety of Capp. St. over the past four months - bringing peace and quiet. A solution they deem necessary for the neighborhood's sanity and safety.

"There would've been easily 40 women working on a three block stretch of Capp on a weekend, now there's about 10 or less," said Emily. "People are beginning to feel safe again here."

While residents say the crime and traffic on Capp St. has improved, other neighbors say the alleged sex work is still impacting 21st and Shotwell St. - a problem that's been well-known in that area for decades.

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