San Francisco to deploy more officers in high tourism areas as part of new safety plan

Luz Pena Image
Tuesday, July 20, 2021
SF to deploy more officers in high tourism areas
San Francisco Mayor Breed announced a new plan to provide additional police officers in many tourist locations amid a rise in crime.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- As tourism ramps up in San Francisco, city officials discussed a new community policing and deployment plan on Monday.

Mayor London Breed and San Francisco Police Chief William Scott held a press conference to give details amid a rise in crimes such as car break-ins and violent attacks.

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"In almost every single instance where there was a violent attack, this police department... they have made arrests," Mayor Breed said. "You will not get away with committing these horrible acts in our city."

Breed said the city is working to put resources in the right places to prevent crimes from happening.

She announced the city is implementing a new Tourist Deployment Plan, which will provide additional police officers in many tourist locations like Chinatown, Alamo Square, and the Palace of Fine Arts.

"We want to make sure that we see officers, that we have our community ambassadors, that we have eyes on the street and that people know there are folks here watching," Breed said. "And that people know that if you choose to commit a crime in this city, you will be held accountable. So that people know that they feel safe and they feel good about their experiences."

Chief Scott said the plan includes 26 additional officers on bicycles and foot patrols in five of 10 districts, in iconic tourist locations. "Those officers do make a difference," he said.

These additional deployments will supplement, not subtract from, citywide deployment.

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"A few years ago, our partnership with the UC Berkeley, California policy lab, they did research and what that showed was when we up our deployment, theft went down across the board in those areas, aggravated assaults went down... so we know it works. We know what it takes."

"We want you to know that this is a safe city, this is a great city, and we welcome you here, and we will take care of you when we're here," Chief Scott said in a message pointed at tourists.

Luz Pena: "26 is a good start but how many officers would you like to see?"

Chief Scott: "We are 400 officers short in terms of where we are supposed to be... let's start to build that up. That won't happen overnight but this budget gives us the ability not to shrink."

Right now San Francisco has about 1,750 police officers. In the future there could be 400 added to that number but what about now? Where's the accountability when thieves get arrested? We asked Mayor Breed.

"The question is how we get to a point where there are consequences but how do we get the person to a better place so they never feel like they have to commit a crime like that in the first place. Currently, it's in the hands of the district attorney's office so you would need to have a conversation with him as to what is going to happen as a result of that," said Mayor Breed.

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Cell phone video taken Monday shows some of the brazen crime that has been driving retailers out of San Francisco.

San Francisco District Attorney's office responded to Mayor Breed's comments about crime in the city.

"We work alongside the police and our law enforcement partners every day to prevent recidivism and hold those who commit harm accountable," said Director of Communications and Policy Advisor for San Francisco District Attorney' Office Rachel Marshall in an email to ABC7 news.

Meanwhile in Fisherman's Wharf businesses are struggling as they see an increase in crime and a decrease in tourism.

"Is it enough? No. you can never have enough police in my opinion. Because the more police it drives the crime out," said Exec. Dir. Fisherman's Wharf Community Benefit District Randall Scott.

The city is forecasting more than 15 million visitors this year and is vowing to protect them and residents.