Mayor Breed supports 'Safer San Francisco' ballot measure to boost police effort, curb crime

Safer San Francisco will be on the ballot in March 2024 and will need a simple majority to pass

ByLena Howland, Suzanne Phan KGO logo
Wednesday, October 18, 2023
Mayor Breed pushes for SF safety ballot measure
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Mayor Breed is proposing a ballot initiative called 'Safer San Francisco' to remove obstacles she says are preventing police from doing their jobs.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Car break-ins, retail theft, and drugs are all problems plaguing parts of San Francisco. Mayor London Breed says a new measure called "Safer San Francisco" will help police tackle some of these issues.

Mayor London Breed says there are so many restrictions right now keeping police from doing their jobs. She wants to roll back those restrictions -- when it comes to pursuits, paperwork, and the use of surveillance technology.

The mayor hopes this will help the city deal with some of its biggest problems.

INTERACTIVE: Take a look at the ABC7 Neighborhood Safety Tracker

Alamo Square is a hot spot for car break-ins. Resident Joanne Schwartz has seen it.

"This week, I see three cars in a row. Just boom, boom, boom - all broken up. A couple of weeks ago, another three in a row," said Schwartz.

MORE: Drug users must enter treatment to get SF County cash assistance, Mayor Breed proposes

"This is going for way too long," said Mayor Breed.

She says stopping crime in San Francisco starts with making some big changes.

The mayor says that she wants to give San Francisco police officers the ability again to crack down on crime -- like car break-ins.

"We're taking something to the ballot. We are going around the board of supervisors, we're going around the police commission. We are going straight to the people of San Francisco," said Breed.

Ballot measure Safer San Francisco would give police more ability to pursue/chase suspects by car, reduce paperwork requirements and give them ability to use surveillance technology.

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Nine and a half months into 2023, and San Francisco police say there have been more than 15,000 car break-ins reported this year.

The mayor says her proposition would roll back limits put on vehicle pursuits. These were restrictions put in place by the police commission.

The mayor says it's also critical to reduce unnecessary paperwork that officers are doing now.

"So we don't keep sending officers back to their desk when they could be out on the street," said Breed.

Safer San Francisco will authorize the police to install and use security cameras. It also authorizes them to use drones.

It would also allow the department to use some of the latest in technology.

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"San Francisco is the technology capital of the world. We have technology tools and we need to use them," said Breed.

Police Commissioner Debra Walker and Supervisor Matt Dorsey back the mayor's measure.

"We are short officers. There is a way to use tech to help us enforce the law and deal with the issues the mayor outlined," said Commissioner Walker.

"It will enable our police officers to do their jobs for us more effectively. San Franciscans deserve a police department with the same access to surveillance technology as every other county in California," said Supervisor Dorsey.

Tuesday, the SFPOA -- city police officer's union -- released this statement about Safer San Francisco ballot initiative:

"The SFPOA supports common sense approaches that help us do our jobs more efficiently. This is about giving our officers the tools to do our job safely and to apprehend suspects before they cause serious harm to innocent people..."

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Several organizations say they don't want to comment until they see the ballot measure in writing.

However, Vidhya Prabhakaran, president of the Bar Association of San Francisco, did offer a statement.

"Much of the progress on police reform is due to the Police Commission and the Department of Police Accountability..." stated Prabhakaran. "The City should not implement policies without input from these effective and important entities... that may violate our federal and California constitutional rights, including the right to privacy."

The measure will be on the ballot in March 2024 and it will need a simple majority to pass.

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