Your Bernal Heights Crime Summary for August 2012

It’s that special time of the month for Bernal crime-watchers. Your ever-vigilant Neighbors Sarah and Edie attended the SFPD’s Ingleside Station Chief’s Meeting last week, and they typed up this mega-handy summary of the latest Bernal Heights crime news.

This month’s installment also covers a lot of Crime-Prevention 101 terrain that’s well worth reading. Stay informed, stay safe:

Notes from Ingleside Community Meeting, 8/21/12

Captain’s Report by Lieutenant Greg Yee; greg.yee@sfgov.org

Captain Mahoney has gone out on extended medical leave. Captain Tim Falvey will take over this week. He has most recently been stationed at SFO but also served as secretary to the SF Police Commission.

Lieutenant Greg Yee is the day-watch lieutenant. He has been with SFPD 22 years; recently worked for 6 years in data management at central command. He hopes to use his time in Ingleside to implement better use of technology in data collection and analysis to predict and prevent hot spots and criminal activity. To that end, he encourages all residents to report concerns to the police. “If you see something, say something.” The more information they have, the more they can act upon. (Editor’s Note: Seriously. See something amiss? Report it, report it, report it. Data nurtures safety.)

Yee also believes that it’s important for police to get to know their neighborhood and their neighbors. He asks his officers to treat the people with as if they were family – to follow up with victims and to get to know youth so preempt crime from happening. Consistency helps, from keeping the same Captain at the station to having beat cops stay on specific beats. But the Chief of Police can move any officer at any time, for any reason.

HOW TO CONTACT THE POLICE AT INGLESIDE STATION:

  • Urgent matters: Call 911 during a life threatening or urgent public safety incident that requires an immediate police, fire or medical response, as well as when criminal activity (ie: breaking into car or home) is occurring.
  • Non-urgent matters: Email SFPDInglesideStation@sfgov.org to communicate issues that may be affecting the community. Photo attachments are also helpful when describing a situation or condition. The Ingleside email box is checked daily Monday-Friday.
  • Non-urgent matters that you would like to discuss with someone: You can also request a phone call from an officer to discuss an issue in detail. The email box is not checked on the weekend. If you would like to speak to someone on the weekend, please call Ingleside Station (404-4000) and ask to speak to the Lieutenant on-duty.
  • Anonymous tip line: The Ingleside Station has been having landline problems, and the anonymous tip line was out of service for a while. It is now operational again: 587-8984.

CRIME STATS

Aggravated Assaults
29 incidents / 18 arrests / up 4% from last month / up 15% y-t-d.

Robberies
9 incidents / 0 arrests / down 65% from last month / down 26% y-t-d. Mostly juveniles committing these crimes.

Sexual Assaults
1 date rape, 1 arrest.

Burglaries
26 incidents / 2 arrests / down 10% from last month / up 23% y-t-d.
For a better chance at recovery, register your bike.

Auto Theft
67 incidents / 6 arrests / down 12% from last month / up 52% y-t-d.

Theft from Auto
68 incidents / 1 arrest / up 42% from last month / down 12% y-t-d.
Don’t leave anything in your car, keep it in a garage if possible – if not, buy a Club. If you see anyone looking into cars or checking car doors, call 911.

INCIDENTS AND RESIDENTS’ CONCERNS

• In the middle of the day, an adult spotted three young kids carrying a gas can into a back yard, and called the police. Police report that kids were young, had found instructions on how to make Molotov cocktails on the internet, and decided to try it out just to see what would happen.

Fire on Vienna in the Excelsior – 2 fatalities, two elderly men. Fire Department is completing its investigation, but hoarding seems to have been a factor – hard for Fire Department to get into house.

• On Monday, the Ingleside Station held a fugitive prevention exercise, working with the state parole office in locating and arresting 7 parolees who haven’t met their parole conditions. One had bullets for an AK-47, but no weapon was found.

• Apparently guns sometimes appear in unexpected places. Police picked up an assault rifle in someone’s woodpile recently in Visitacion Valley.

• Last week, neighbors called the police when a man came out of a problem house on Alemany at Laura swinging a 6′ chain. Police shot him with bean bags when he refused to comply with their orders, and paramedics took him to the hospital. Lieutenant Yee will check to see what happened to him.

• Police have received complaints about ice cream vendors with non-stop ringing bells. Officers will evaluate the situation and figure out if the vendors have permits.

Back to school for the SFUSD happened last week! Residents around elementary schools on narrow streets report a traffic problem, especially when parents double-park and even leave their cars to drop off/pick up their kids. Drivers tend to drive quickly around the blockage and may hit kids trying to cross the street. Yee has asked the day sergeant to send school cars and motorcycle officers to all the schools to help clear up the traffic jams and educate parents.

• Several Bernal residents have found blue painter’s tape at the bottoms of front doors and suspect that burglars put it there to see if people are away on vacation. However, there have only been 3 residential burglaries in Bernal recently – 2 of them stolen bikes, so police are not sure what’s going on. If you see tape on your door, DON’T touch it; instead, email the police SFPDInglesideStation@sfgov.org and ask them to check for fingerprints. Also watch for suspicious vehicles or persons and report any sightings via the non-emergency number.

• One person in Sunnyside received a robo-call saying his area has increased crime and offering him a free plan to protect the house, complete with a line directly to SFPD. This is likely a scam to see which businesses don’t have security systems in place; please be alert and don’t fall for anything that seems too good to be true.

Parking citation increases: The new parking citations just came out, and the fine for parking in a handicapped zone without a permit is $966. (See this article for other increases)

Safe Haven Program. This is an existing program that has fallen into disuse. It allows ordinary citizens to see signs on street and run into businesses and ask for help if they’re afraid. A community member asked for program to be fully implemented and advertised.

• Community members around Crocker-Amazon Park have heard whispers that some of the adult gang members who hang out there are carrying guns in their backpacks. This is occurring when soccer practices are being held. Yee: the community is fearful of the guys with guns (and they are afraid of being seen as snitches), but police can use targeted enforcement to saturate areas in danger, and they ask that neighbors who know where guns might be stashed to call and tell them (anonymous tip line works well for this). He said he has had officers out in the Sunnydale connecting with the community. For example, they cleared out junked cars with broken windows that the younger kids had been using as a playground. It’s important that police connect with the kids in non-confrontational way, to forestall later violence.

[A few additional crime-trend notes from recent Community Police Advisory Board meeting: station seeing more "activity" at Holly Courts housing, as well as 100 Highland Gang members posting YouTube videos of themselves flashing gang signs on Highland. There is a Mission gang with an affiliate now operating in the Mission/Geneva corridor – the Geneva Mob. The station is working with the Gang Task Force on both of these. Norteño/Sureño activity rising in the Mission – most activity occurs there, but many gang members live in the Ingleside. Outdoor bikes – locked to trees, poles, parking meters – are seeing an uptick in thefts.]

GUEST SPEAKERS

Rani Singh, Assistant District Attorney, is the newly assigned community neighborhood prosecutor for Ingleside and the Taraval. VM: 753-7703. Chief Gasçon has asked experienced DAs to work in assigned neighborhoods for 1.5 to 2 years. A native San Franciscan, Singh has been working for the DA for 14 years, and has worked in many areas of law enforcement in the city. She’ll spend mornings at Ingleside and afternoons at Taraval. Singh is eager to hear from residents and would be glad to attend small or large group meetings. She will serve as a conduit between police and residents, assisting officers with their report writing and advising them on the law, and advocating for the community if officers do something inappropriate.

Neighborhood Court System of restorative justice. This is a program designed to deter first-time misdemeanor offenders by having them face and repair the consequences of their actions. It will also lighten the load on our court system and jails. How does it work? As our local Assistant DA, Singh will sort through non-arrest cases that arrive at Ingleside for cases that meet the criteria: first offense – no domestic violence, no weapons, no felonies. If the offender wants to participate, their case will be handed over to a neighborhood court, where volunteer Ingleside residents will set consequences appropriate to the case, such as restitution, mediation, and treatment for anger or substance abuse. Click here for more info or to become a volunteer adjudicator.

Delia Montiel, is a Victims Services advocate at the Youth Guidance Center. 753-4410. An Ingleside resident, Montiel has worked at the YGC for 6 years, focused on juvenile cases. She is a great resource for a juvenile or adult who has been victimized or is under arrest.

UPCOMING MEETING

Ingleside Community Meetings are held on 3rd Tuesday of the month from 7 – 8 pm in the Community Room of the Ingleside station, 1 Sgt. John V. Young Lane at San Jose Ave. All are welcome to hear about issues affecting the district and ask questions. Next meeting will be Sept 18th.

Whew! Please join Bernalwood in giving a hearty thank you to Neighbors Sarah and Edie for their excellent notes. Their YIMBY dedication is truly awesome.

PHOTO: Telstar Logistics

Crescent Neighbors Say New 23 Muni Bus Stop Really Sucks

A Muni bus stop was relocated recently on Crescent Avenue at Ellsworth, and the natives are not happy. Bernalwood has received multiple complaints about the location of the new bus stop, and here is Neighbor Michael’s summary of the situation:

There’s an MTA War going on on Crescent Avenue at Ellsworth! Not long ago, a homeowner on the street complained about having a bus stop in front of his house. Granted, it’s been there for years; he knew about it when he bought the house, but hey, it’s his right to complain. The MTA decided to move the bus stop from the corner to the middle of the next block, to appease this neighbor.

What this has done is create a safety hazard. The bus stops in the middle of the block (two houses after stopping at a sign), so cars get stuck in the intersection, and pass on the opposite side of the road (accidents to ensue). Passengers now get off in the middle of the block rather than a corner, so they will most likely jaywalk rather than cross legally. Also, my driveway has become the de facto handicap ramp for wheelchair users. (Does that open me up to liability?)

This video (displayed above) shows folks queueing up at the old stop. They clearly don’t like the new stop, and the bus (23 Muni) didn’t go to the new stop. Confusion for all.

Numerous calls and emails to the MTA have revealed they want to do a 6 month study to consider if they should move the stop AGAIN.

If they can move the bus stop without a study, why can’t they just move it back without one too? This all doesn’t seem fair to the passengers, drivers, or us, the neighbors.

On top of all that, Neighbor Beth writes:

Is anyone being affected by the fact that they have cut back the 23 bus EVEN MORE?

When we first moved here it. Came very frequently in the morning (like every 7-10 minutes). Then they cut it back. Now they just cut it again. Now we might have to wait 30-40 minutes to catch a bus to/from the Glen Park Bart, which makes the bus useless (especially since its only a 15 min walk).

UPDATED: Don’t Worry, That Helicopter Hovering Above Bernal This Morning Was Probably Not Searching for Radiation

 

CORRECTION: Neighbor Sasha says:

Nope,  I thought it was [a radiation-sniffing helicopter]  too,  but it was a news copter right above my house (in lower Noe) with camera trained on 28th and Church,  where there was a shooting and St.Paul’s school was locked down. I turned on channel 2,  and they had the shots from the helicopter.

ORIGINAL POST: Oh, perhaps you too heard that helicopter hovering over Bernal Heights between 6:30 and 7:30 this morning? Pay no mind… according to the SF Examiner, it was just part of a routine sweep to sample radiation levels on behalf of the National Nuclear Security Administration:

Beginning Aug. 27, a helicopter may be seen flying at a low-level altitude over portions of San Francisco, Pacifica and Oakland, Calif. The helicopter will be taking measurements of naturally-occurring background radiation. The helicopter will make daily flights between Aug. 27 and Sept. 1, 2012.

The flyovers are a part of a joint research project between the Department of Homeland Security’s Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO) and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to assess natural background radiation levels. The survey will cover approximately 69 square miles over the selected locations. NNSA’s twin-engine Bell 412 helicopter, operated by the Remote Sensing Laboratory Aerial Measuring System in Las Vegas, Nev., will perform the survey. The helicopter will fly in a grid pattern over the locations about 300 feet above the ground. The flights will be limited to daylight hours and the survey is estimated to take about five days to complete.

The background data will be used by DNDO and NNSA to improve aerial radiation measurement capabilities used by local, state and federal entities.

Yes. Of course. Perfectly logical explanation. Completely routine. Nothing to see here. Move along… move along.

PHOTO: Top, Neighbor Valjoy9

Big Capp Street Fire Witnessed From and By Bernalwood

There was a two-alarm fire in a cottage on Capp Street between 23rd and 24th yesterday. While the SFFD went to work on the blaze, Neighbor Benjamin photographed the situation from his Bernal Heights observation post.

As destiny would have it, I was walking up 24th Street when firefighters first arrived. I switched to iWitness mode to capture some photos from the scene:

PHOTOS: Top, Benjamin Staffin. All others, Telstar Logistics

Mars Rover Mission Exposed as Elaborate Bernal Hill Hoax

Neighbor Yatima and I recently spent some time looking at this photo, which was taken last weekend atop Bernal Hill by a Bernalwood reporter. Savvy Bernalese will immediately recognize this as the southwest corner of the hill; it’s the area that the local skiiers call Rock Quarry.

But there’s another reason why this terrain looks so familiar, and Neighbor Yatima put her finger on it:

Can’t believe we landed a nuclear rover right there. Awesome.

She’s referring to the glamorous Curiosity Rover that landed recently on the surface of Mars. Sure enough, Curiosity’s photos of the Martian terrain sure do look an awful lot like this cozy corner of Bernal Hill. So that got me wondering. What if…

I decided to see if the original Bernal photo had been doctored. Sure enough, when I examined the digital file, I noticed some odd fragmentation along the edges of the image that would be consistent with a photo that had been cropped to narrow the perspective. Hmmm…

If the image had been cropped, what parts of the photo had been removed? The next step was to restore the image to it’s original size and perspective. Using vectored antipixel algorithms, Bernalwood was able to reconstruct and enhance the base image.

What we found was rather shocking:

That’s right. A full reconstruction of the original image reveals the Curiosity rover perched atop Bernal Hill. But how? How can Curiosity be sitting on Bernal Hill, when we all know that right now it is parked inside a crater on Mars?

Fellow Citizens of Bernalwood, it seems we may have Capricorn One situation on our hands. Indeed, our investigation suggests that the Curiosity rover has been atop Bernal Hill this entire time, and that the whole “mission to Mars” is little more than an elaborate ruse.

But who would perpetrate such a hoax? And who has the technological capacity to pull it off? As I studied the reconstructed image, I noticed a blue insignia on the rover’s nuclear battery pack:

It wasn’t clear enough to read, so I tried to zoom and enhance it. That’s when the last piece of the puzzle finally fell into place:

BASA!! Of course!!

The truth really is out there.