Your Bernal Heights Crime Report for March, 2014: Stats Show Improving Trends, Recent Unpleasantness Notwithstanding

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Let’s not dance around it: From a crime and tranquility perspective, the last few weeks have really really sucked. In the meantime, however, Neighbors Sarah and Edie attended the monthly SFPD Ingleside community meeting, and they shared their (typically) wonderful notes on local crime trends, which are actually rather encouraging:

Ingleside Police District Monthly Community Meeting   April 15, 20141
Captain’s Report by Captain Tim Falvey    timothy.falvey@sfgov.org

Ingleside Crime Trends as of March 24th 

  1. Overall violent crime is down 14% YTD, robberies down 21%.
  2. Overall felony crimes are down 16% since last year.
  3. Burglaries are down 28% YTD. Police are trying to get down to pre-realignment numbers (prior to the early release of criminals due to prison overcrowding).
  4. Auto theft numbers are flat. Police did an abatement exercise in March, arresting 6 people driving stolen cars, and they’re hoping to see a further drop off in April stats.
  5. Auto break-ins are still high. On April 1, 5 cars were broken into in a 2-block area.

Enforcement efforts, situation updates, and things to remember

  1. Traffic and Pedestrian Safety. Pedestrian safety is a high SF priority. One major danger is in intersections where a driver is turning left and concentrating on cars coming towards them rather than on the pedestrians in the crosswalk.  As a pedestrian, pay attention while crossing streets.

In the Ingleside, the Focus on the 5 campaign, where police target the 5 worst traffic infringement intersections in the area, has resulted in a 32% increase in traffic citations. Drive safely, and if you notice a bad intersection, email http://www.sdfpdinglesidestation@sfgov.org

Current problem areas for speeding in the Ingleside are Teresita Blvd at Isola Way, Alemany near Corpus Christie School, and Cayuga near Balboa High School. The police currently have a radar trailer on Teresita Blvd; slow down if you don’t want a ticket. If you have a spot that needs the trailer, contact the Captain.

  1. Update on Gambling storefronts. 

Gambling shacks are businesses that provide computers with gaming programs, and sell internet access time for gambling only. Look for storefronts with covered windows, where not everyone is allowed in, and security cameras may be present. They tend to attract drug dealers, prostitutes, and others intent on criminal activity, and cause increases in neighborhood crime.

32 states have declared stores that host computers with internet gambling access to be illegal gambling sites. In March, the State Supreme Court also in California agreed.  The city attorney sued NET STOP at 4455 Mission, which is now closed. Captain also took the ruling to the two remaining storefronts in the Ingleside. One had already closed, the other is protesting and wants to stay open.

  1. Tips to remember and share with your neighbors.

Fraud: People have been getting calls from official agencies saying someone is under arrest and they need to pay to get out. For example: FBI calls, says your relative is here, go get a gift card, scratch off number and read it to us to pay bail. Sheriffs Dept. asking for payment via gift card or from on your account or your relative will stay in jail. Neither the FBI nor the Sheriff”s Department will ever do this, so spread the word. Also people call and say you won some money, but must pay the taxes in order to receive it. Don’t believe any of these ploys. Hang up and call the police.

Home Burglaries: 10 or 11 this month. Half were through an unlocked or open window or door. 2 were open garage doors. During warm weather we all like to open windows to enjoy the fresh air. However, remember that once a burglar makes his way over a fence, through a side yard, or up over a roof and into one back yard, then it’s easy for them to jump the fence from house to house, looking for open doors and windows and other opportunities. Also, if you’re going on vacation, please don’t announce it beforehand on social media. Thieves can locate your comments online, figure out where you live, break in and clean out your house.

Auto Burglaries: If you have an older Honda, use a Club. Don’t leave valuables in your car, or even anything that might look interesting. If you have a garage door opener, take it out of your car whenever you park it – especially outside your house.

  1. Successful gun buyback on April 5th. The Ingleside Community Police Advisory Board co-hosted a gun buyback and the line was 1½ blocks long for an hour. Police received 188 weapons, incl. 80 handguns & 6 assault rifles. These appeared to be guns people had in their homes, so this means that burglars won’t be able to steal them and use them. If you have a gun or ammunition, just call the police and ask to turn it in, and police will come by and pick it up for you.

Q/A: 

  1. Tagging and Graffitti:

What can owner do about graffiti on her house under construction? Take pictures & file a report with the police graffiti abatement officer. Often police can identify the tag and, with information about multiple tags by the same tagger, charge the tagger with a felony rather than a misdemeanor. Then paint graffiti over, turn lights on at night, let neighbors know what’s happened and show them the pictures of the tags, so they can keep an eye out, too.

Increase in tagging around freeway fences and nearby houses.  Police arrested three people tagging and checked their cell phones. They had photos of all the tags they’ve done around the city, boosting the amount of damage done, and were charged with a felony. (It’s a misdemeanor if damage done is less than $400, more than $400 is a felony.)

  1. Shooting at the Pacific Super. Two guys were talking, one reached into his car, the other pulled out a gun, and shot. An innocent bystander was hit in the let. Police have a good description of the vehicle, and are moving forward on the case.
  2. Man jailed for threatening people with a big chain is back on the street. He’s carrying a really long knife and threatened a female roommate at his house on Laura and Alemany. Lots of people live in that same house / police called repeatedly.
  3. Complaints from Sunnydale residents about non-residents parking cars there. DPT and police cleared out the parking lot. A few were stolen, others had expired registrations and were towed.
  4. Arlington & Randall, near Fairmount School: large commercial trucks belonging to California Carpet & La Copa Loca Ice Cream park there for over limited 72 hours, double park, and block views in intersections. People have been seen moving things from one vehicle to another, and spray-painting the trucks with graffiti art.
  5. Coleridge St. at 7 pm, a neighbor was robbed at gunpoint and knocked over. Officers around the city are viewing the video to identify the perps. Ingleside has easy access from freeways, so many criminals who come here to rob are from other places.
  6. Leadership HS students concerns about police. Two students, waiting at the J stop for the train, were recently asked by the police to what school they were from and then asked to leave J stop. Their teacher reports they are good kids, so what might be done to improve the relationship between police and Leadership High students?  A: on May 7th there will be a Youth Summit at Balboa HS, sponsored by the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center. Participating youth write youth/police dialogs and consult with local police for their point of view; they will act out the dialogues at the Summit.

Upcoming Events and Activities:

More info at: http://www.inglesidepolicestation.com/#! community-announcements

  1. May 7th Youth Summit at Balboa HS. Youth write youth/police dialogs in consultation with police to understand police point of view, and then act them out at the Summit.

  2. Recruiting HS Cadets for the SF PAL Cadet Program. Program runs 4 weeks in the summer, 6 hours a day. It teaches discipline and after students successfully complete it, they can intern at local police stations. A great opportunity for any HS student interested in a career in law enforcement. 

  3. National Night Out on Tuesday, August 5th, 2014, 5pm @ Police Academy, 350 Amber at Duncan, behind Christopher Playground.  Join your neighbors, meet the officers, enjoy the barbecue, and attend presentations on pedestrian safety, SAFE, ALERT, and more.

  4. Next Ingleside Police District Community Meeting, May 20, 7pm. Ingleside station.

PHOTO: Telstar Logistics

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19 thoughts on “Your Bernal Heights Crime Report for March, 2014: Stats Show Improving Trends, Recent Unpleasantness Notwithstanding

  1. It is awful for people to feel unsafe. I am sorry for the victim of this recently reported mugging at gunpoint caught on camera and for all victims of this spate of local criminal activity. Did anyone stop to consider what might happen with the endless news articles and public reports on the increase in home values, the influx of the newly minted young techsters and their very visible shuttle buses, laptop cases, designer baby carriages and matching vehicles? It all shouts: “I have so much.” So those who want some of what they’re flashing feel entitled to grab some. Overt and casual displays of excess wealth, disposable income and the attitude that comes with it in a zone which until recently housed just regular folks- you know the ones getting displaced, evicted, or just selling because at least they can get out with a piece of change- what did the city think was going to happen? Despite the restaurants, the boutiques, the artisan food shops, etc, its still the Mission. The newcomers are just that: recent transplants to someone else’s turf. Its important to show a little humility and respect. Be alert, try to blend in and not make the long time residents feel like its a subtle but aggressive hostile takeover. Its why people key cars, tag your garage door, and sadly, mug you at gunpoint on your way home. People here somehow get the wrong impression that they are living in a “gated community”. Its urban life at a time when the gap between haves and have-nots is deeply felt.

    • Julie, I’m sorry, but no. Just no. People who rob people do so not because they are “regular folks,” but because they are criminals. Meanwhile, the simple fact is that back in the days before all the “newcomers” arrived (when? 1 year ago? 3 years ago? 9 years ago? 15 years ago? 20 years ago?), there were even more criminals committing even more crimes like this in Bernal. If anything, historical crime statistics prove the exact opposite of your argument.

    • What. The. Fuck. Is this a serious comment? This is the most absurd statement I think I have seen on this site and there have been some whoppers. You are using the same logic that a rape victim dressed too sexy and there for is” just asking for it.” Gimme a break. The dude who was held up at gun point was walking home minding his business, not flashy at all.

      I also find it dumb and dangerous to accept crime as a part of living in an urban environment. Crime is simply not acceptable, period. Accepting crime is a dangerous mindset and will only lead to more crime.

      • Exactly, but this is the narrative that the jaundiced subset of the press and a few noisy activists have been crafting. That all’s fair in a class or culture war. It’s incredibly dangerous to make crime appear provoked or righteous. And worse, there aren’t just apologists for criminals, there are those non-criminals with outright allegiances to criminals, rooting for them. One hopes they are the first to get gentrified out of the discussion as their position is no more defensible than chauvinists who would apologize for or ally with rapists.

    • See the freeway-access point made in the notes – most often the people doing the crimes are not people from the neighborhood who are being displaced but rather people who view Bernal, Glen Park, Potrero, etc. as convenient places to rob people and then hop back on 101/280.

    • So if only people would “show a little humility” (whatever that means) and buy cheaper baby carriages, criminals would be nicer, think better of it, and leave them alone? Was theft a non-issue when the neighborhood’s median income was lower?

      I’m sorry, but … what planet do you live on?

      Also, it’s not “still the Mission”; it’s Bernal Heights.

    • brilliant analysis of this complex issue by Julie G

      My favorite part is where she insinuated that tech workers (like me) aren’t “just regular folks”. Is that like being a “real American”? I don’t think I’m one of those either :(

      And where do I sign up for my designer baby carriage and matching vehicle? I don’t have a kid, but I could push my aging dog around in the carriage

      and man, I thought muggers were just assholes, but I guess I’m just asking for it

      masterful trolling, A+

    • If cops are harassing kids taking public transit to/from school, then those cops needs to be fired STAT. Zero tolerance for street harassment of law-abiding people. Reason number 1,234,567,890,987,654,321 by we need to get rid of shield laws.

      • Shield laws? The kind to protect journalists? Assume that’s not it. Can you clarify what you mean by Shield Laws?

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