Your Bernal Heights Crime Report for September 2012: Robbery Busts, iPhone Thefts, and Beware the Blue Tape

Neighbor Edie heroically attended the last community meeting at the SFPD’s Ingleside Station, and even more heroically… she typed up these notes just for you. Please read them carefully to learn about current crime trends, and how to avoid becoming a statistic:

Captain’s Report by Captain Tim Falvey (timothy.falvey@sfgov.org)

Our new captain, Captain Timothy Falvey, has been in the SFPD 17+ years, last two at the airport. As an officer, he worked in Northern Hayes Valley, and as a Sgt worked swing watch in the Mission. As a Lieutenant, he worked in the Southern district, then went to the Police Academy for three years, then was the Police Commission Secretary. Promoted to Captain, and assigned here.

Falvey highly enjoys his job, especially in San Francisco. Almost his entire family was in the department, and he joined because he noticed they were the only people he knew who enjoyed going to work every day. Falvey was an accountant for seven years first, but he didn’t like to sit doing paperwork every day, now that he’s a Captain, he sits behind a desk doing paperwork…

The Captain’s had a busy first few days since he started here. The first day he was on the job, a big cluster of thieves were going around robbing people of their cell phones. Three precincts detained numerous people involved, and there was an officer-involved shooting. The second day, there was a pipe burst and major flooding in the Sunnydale, and the house on the corner was redlined, and the police spent time evacuating the children at the school there.

Welcome to the Ingleside!

Crime Stats are tracked every 4 weeks, and compare the crime for 4-week period for 3 months.

Part 1 crimes (homicide, rape, robbery, violent assault) are down 21%. There was a spike in July, but now getting back to the norm.

Part 2 crimes (arson, burglary, auto theft, theft from vehicles) are down 25%.

Shootings: Total 19 victims in our district, compared to 23 last year at same time.

Reports of shots fired: down 43% (from 7 to 4). Again consistent with June.

Increased traffic enforcement helps to curtail violent crimes, because people often come from other areas (in cars) to commit those crimes.

So when crimes increase, police do more traffic checks to find people who shouldn’t be there and slow it down.

Arrests: This month there was a 200% increase in the number of robbery arrests (3 arrests instead of 1).

Recently there was a takeover robbery in the Ingleside: two robbers put people in the freezer and took their wallets & phones. Report went out and police spotted them on 7th & Market, a known place for fencing stolen goods. Police stopped them, asked Ingleside police to call the victims’ cell phone numbers, and phones rang from the robbers’ pockets. Police have charged them with ELEVEN robberies! Great job!

Robberies down 21%. Crime trend: robberies on the bus, especially iPhones. Perps wait outside the bus, spot someone using iPhone and, just as the bus doors are about to close, reach in and grab it. Passengers – pay attention. Don’t stand next to the open door with a $300 iPhone and wait for it to be stolen. Sit near the cameras, near the driver, far from the door.

Education, enforcement, environment… all are very important when preventing crime. When buying an iPhone, take it out of the bag and put it in your pocket, so the thieves will steal the bag, not the phone.

INCIDENTS AND RESIDENTS’ CONCERNS

Increase in burglaries in Miraloma Park. Common for perps to force open doors in broad daylight.

Alemany and Laura: Man spotted a month ago swinging a large chain and damaging property was arrested and is in jail on aggravated assault.

Blue Tape on doors: Bernal residents around Elsie St. have found blue painter’s tape at the bottoms of front doors, a strategy burglars apparently use to see when people are away from home. Now there have been several burglaries in the same area, and Taraval’s Captain reports finding tape near St. Brendon’s. Apparently, gangs will focus on a neighborhood for a while until moving to the next.

If you see tape on your door, DON’T touch it; instead, call the police non-emergency number (415) 553-0123 or email SFPDInglesideStation@sfgov.org and ask them to check for fingerprints.

Let’s keep our doors locked and our eyes and ears open: report any suspicious vehicles or persons via the non-emergency number (415) 553-0123. Get a license number and kind of vehicle, description of the people you see, pictures if you can, but don’t put yourself in danger. In one neighborhood where they’ve been taking license plate numbers, police have gotten two guns and four thieves off the street.

Traffic Control: Captain has asked his officers to concentrate on writing tickets for things that cause accidents, which create damage, and increase workload and paperwork. Also focusing on major transit corridors so that buses can move effectively.

New skatepark in Balboa Park, at the corner of Ocean and San Jose Ave. Kids have been sneaking in to skate even before the equipment was finished, but it should be open now.

The Ingleside station website has a new page on for local community-based organizations to post info on upcoming local events.

An SF ordinance prevents people from parking cars for sale in places they don’t live, so you can call on those cars with for sale signs that take up parking spaces in your neighborhood.

Beware of fraudulent calls using your personal information, such as children’s names, your address, etc.: A caller from Jamaica told someone they’d earned a large amount of money, but must pay in order to receive it. The caller knew the names of three of the victim’s children. Others identify themselves as children or grandchildren who are in another country and sick or in desperate need of cash. Callers often focus on seniors, and much of this fraud is international in origin, so it’s hard to catch the thieves.

NOTE: spookeo.com is a known source for personal information, and it’s linked to Ancestry.com. You might want to see just how much of your personal information is out there and available to anyone who pays for an account.

Suggestions to avoid being defrauded: If you don’t recognize the caller, don’t answer. They may also be able to piggyback on your line to make other long-distance calls on your bill. Talk to your family members (of all generations) about this kind of fraud, and set a way of identifying true family from fraudulent callers. For instance – establish a key word or phrase that doesn’t have anything to do with your known personal information. Tell everyone they should listen for that from callers, and always have others check with the supposed caller and other family members before they send money anywhere.

UPCOMING COMMUNITY 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 Oct 16th.

PHOTO: Telstar Logistics

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