Last week Neighbor Sarah attended a meeting with Captain Falvey from the SFPD’s Ingleside Station. The meeting was an opportunity to gather updates on the robberies and arrests that took place in Bernal Heights recently, and discuss safety initiatives that Bernal neighbors can undertake. Neighbor’s Sarah’s (typically excellent) notes contain two parts – an update and a list of action items – so please read all the way through.
UPDATE ON ROBBERIES & ARRESTS
For the two adult suspects in the January 29 mugging incident, bail has been set at $400K and $500K, respectively, which Captain Falvey said was high for robberies.
If you were a victim of these robberies and haven’t been informed of the hearing date/time/location for the juvenile involved, you can call Delia Montiel in Victim Services at 753-4418. She can only speak to victims, but victims are allowed to spread the word and bring as many “support people” as they want to the hearing. I am looking into the hearing dates for the adults.
SFPD’s central Criminal Investigation Unit is working on these and other robberies because the robberies occurred across police districts. Stations are sending in robberies they think are connected. In this case, Ingleside sent over seven robberies they think are connected to the Bocana one. Taraval sent several others, and Bayview is likely to have done so as well.
SFPD is reaching out to other robbery victims to see if any more robberies can be linked to these or other recently arrested suspects.
There was also an arrest for a robbery in Alemany the Saturday before the Bocana robbery. They are looking to see whether that suspect can be tied to any of the robberies on nearby city streets earlier in the month.
Ingleside has brought in the Violence Reduction Team and also deployed its own plainclothes units. These groups drive around in unmarked cars and observe the neighborhood. They can conduct “field interviews” and write up cards that can be useful later if a robbery does occur. If the person they are interviewing is on probation or parole and has a search condition, the police can search him/her.
There have been no robberies in Bernal since the Bocana arrests (knock on wood), thanks to effective police action and community engagement/support. But we should not become complacent. Accordingly, please see some action items and initiatives in progress below.
Some people have asked why it isn’t easier for the police to apprehend people involved in the robbery and resale of electronics since this activity is known to be concentrated at 7th/Market. Captain Falvey said the police DO set up undercover buys, but the people involved in these rings are not stupid. They divide up the transaction into small pieces – so, for instance, the guy with the money buying up electronics is not actually out on 7th and Market. The Mid-Market foot beat is always on the lookout, and periodically they are able to bust the person who’s buying up the stolen goods.
What can Bernal Heights do to encourage vigorous prosecution of these robbery suspects?
1. NOW: Write a letter to DA Gascon. The Community Police Advisory Board, the BHNC, and other groups should all do this. Key points: we are following case closely; we want suspects to get a fair trial; this was very serious, violent crime that these suspects brought into our neighborhoods.
2. IF CONVICTED: Write a letter to presiding judge from same groups. Key points: these crimes were violent; we encourage stiff sentences.
QUARTERLY MEETINGS WITH THE CAPTAIN. Establish quarterly Bernal Heights meeting schedule with the Ingleside captain. All groups and residents should be encouraged to attend so that we do not only meet in small groups with captain or in large groups at times of crisis. Ailed from BHNC and Sarah to work on getting this started. [Editor's Note: Bernalwood will promote these meetings when they are scheduled]
LARGE COMMUNITY FORUM WITH CHIEF AND CAPTAIN. Neighbor Darcy is following up with Chief Suhr and Captain Falvey on dates – possibly end of Feb./beginning of March — for a discussion about crime-fighting strategy. Date and venue TBD.
HOT SPOT WALK. Schedule “hot spot” walk between now and large community forum, to identify crime-reduction improvements that can be made in Bernal Heights; include DPW, Supervisors’ staff, SFPD, others. Ailed at the BHNC is leading the charge – likely to be one evening the week of Feb. 18. If you have a “hot spot” (problem area in neighborhood) in mind and haven’t done so already, PLEASE fill out this hot spot form. Paper copies are also available at the BHNC. Please return them by Feb. 13! (Tomorrow!)
SAFETY WALK. Schedule Precita area safety walk/education campaign. Ailed is working on this and will send out a notice asking for volunteers.
REGULAR MONTHLY INGLESIDE STATION COMMUNITY MEETING. The next one is on Feb. 19 at 7pm in the community room at the station, 1 Sgt. John V. Young Ln. inside Balboa Park.
Other ideas mentioned were a monthly newsletter or update from captain to distribute on BernalSafe, and engaging the tech-savvy Bernal community to come up with other solutions to enhance safety – e.g., bSafe app.
PHOTO: via Telstar Logistics