Wave of Muggings Continues Near Cortland Avenue


Every once in a while we are reminded that Bernal Heights — our Little Village in the Big City — is still a part of the big city.

The recent wave of gunpoint muggings continues on the side-streets around central Cortland Avenue. Several people have been robbed and badly shaken up. The crime pattern is consistent. No one has been too seriously hurt.

Last night a Bernal neighbor sent this message:

Tonight my girlfriend was robbed on Andover between Cortland and Ellert.

It seems to have been two of the same perpetrators who robbed the group [earlier this week]. Younger black males dressed in dark clothing (hoodies) with a gun.

She was walking down from the Good Life at about 7:30pm with another pedestrian walking up on the other side of the street across from the library. She was in the most well lit spot of the block. When she reached Ellert the perpetrators seemingly appeared from no where running directly at her. They ran across the street with the gun already out and and told her to “give them everything.” She immediately dropped everything that she had on the ground. Afterward, they said “You have four seconds to run,” at which point she ran as fast as she could into the Good Life to call the police.

During our time speaking with the police apparently two more robberies took place, with one victim being pistol whipped according to the officers.

Just wanted to give the community a heads up and let women know that they need to be walking with friends (preferably male) and that this stick up crew is particularly brazen. From what I could gather from the police these guys really don’t seem to give a fuck and are very dangerous.

Hide ya kids, hide ya wives.

Yesterday, in our previous post on this topic, Bernalwood also received this comment from a reader:

I just got home tonight, hoping that I was playing the odds that the muggers wouldn’t hit Bernal again. I got home alright but ran down to Good Life to pick up some things to find two cop cars and a terrified woman who had just been held up at gun point by four muggers on Bennington (next to GL). It seems these guys are getting braver and braver and staying in the neighborhood.

No one wants to change their lives to accommodate this behavior, but having myself been mugged by four people with a gun not too long ago, I can only say if you can avoid the possibility of ever having to go through that, do everything you can to avoid it.

In their “bravery” they’re going to make a very stupid mistake soon enough. I’m fairly confident with four of them, this can’t go on too much longer.

That’s seems like a wise perspective. Bernalwood has every reason to believe that the SFPD will take an aggressive approach to protecting public safety on the streets of Bernal Heights. This crime pattern will not last.

But for now, prudence is required.

When you are on the street, follow these wise personal safety guidelines. [PDF download]

If you live in South Bernal, watch outside your home. Note any suspicious activity. Write it down. Call the SFPD as required.

Add these SFPD contact numbers to your phone:

    • SFPD Cellphone Emergency: 553-8090
    • SFPD Non-Emergency 553-0123
    • Remember: Dialing 911 from a cellphone connects you with the California Highway Patrol, not the SFPD

Bernalwood will provide additional updates to this post as they become available.

ADDENDUM: Neighbor Darcy adds:

This week there was also a incident near Goat Hill Pizza in Potrero – 3 young man were mugged at gunpoint by three young men.

The officer on the Cortland beat said that multiple victim muggings are unusual. I wonder if these incidents are all related.
Questions that can be asked at a community meeting-
Ask our captain for concise descriptions, vehicle descriptions and when will the meeting be.

I encourage everyone to email David Campos, Captain Falvey and Greg Suhr- We need and deserve a concise plan. In years past Sargent Miller set up an undercover operation and caught a group of thieves that were mugging folks all over 94107 and 94110.


125 thoughts on “Wave of Muggings Continues Near Cortland Avenue

  1. And to add to the crime spree, one of our neighbors had her car broken into last night while parked on Eugenia near Bocana. She states that it was around 3:30 am and saw a man fleeing the scene on a bike!

  2. Why not mobilize the neighbors and stand guard and wait for these punks to do their malice- cuff ’em to a tree and wait for the cops. Anybody have cuffs- not the fur kind

  3. put the numbers in the bottom of this message in your phone!



  4. I was robbed at gun point in november on Jarboe and Putnum. It was 7:30 pm on a sunday night. There were 2 that I saw and at least one waiting in the car. They said the exact same thing “give me everything you got”. It was scary as hell and I’m sad to hear that it’s still happening.

  5. My roommate was mugged at gunpoint about three weeks ago, at 8pm on a Sunday on Jarboe. Sort of ridiculous that it’s taken this insane level of brazen muggings to get the attention of the press, and the police for that matter. Hopefully we can stop the madness before someone gets hurt or killed, the perps included. Those two stories about pistol whipping and being told that she had “four seconds to run” are especially terrifying – and definitely escalated from when my roommate was mugged. Scary scary stuff people!

    • Oh woops my roommate also just posted (above my comment) – looks like I was way off with my “three weeks” and it’s been more like two months! Yowsers. I wonder how many other one-off muggings have taken place!

  6. I do think the perpetrators will be caught and when they are, I think one part of their punishment (in addition to hard time) should be to attend a community meeting. I would like for them to hear how their actions have impacted out community. In addition, I would like for them to attempt to explain themselves. I’m not talking about a public shaming but rather a civil dialogue. That feels like justice to me.

    • How about a revival of the “scared straight” process? School visits to prisons to see and hear from inmates what’s it’s like to be incarcerated.

      • “Scared Straight” doesn’t work. Instead it glamorizes the criminal as a pop culture icon. This is why so many ghetto kids wear big pants and hold them up with their hands. In prison, convicts are issued pants with no belts (less possibility of hanging anyone), so the cons have to hold up their pants. Prison is a status symbol among those folks who have nothing else to look to. It shows that they’re “bad”, and in this case literally.

        Another example of a “tough love” tactic that doesn’t work is executions. The murder rate in Florida always rises when a murderer is executed. Another that doesn’t work is hanging pickpockets in the public square. It was found that pickpockets worked the crowd of onlookers.

  7. Not sure the car break-ins are related to the muggings – there have been at least three car break-ins and two THEFTS on “Upper” Ellsworth (first two blocks below BHBlvd.) The two cars were found unharmed within a couple of days, and nothing of value was taken from the cars. No windows broken or damage – but car owners said it was clear their things had been rifled. But there is clearly something amiss here.

  8. Just a reminder that Bernal Heights has a longer history as a crime-ridden neighborhood than as a hipster one. Notice the vertical bar across the front door of the laundromat? Well, that was installed decades ago to keep people from stealing clothes baskets. Notice that a few storefronts have burglar bars on the fronts? Well, nearly all stores once had burglar bars on their fronts — just 15 years ago.

    Remember that there are housing projects on South Bernal that have been there longer than most of us have been alive.

    Just sayin’

    • So what’s your point? It’s been crime ridden in the past so it’s ok now?

      P.S. And I’d hardly call it “a hipster one”.

    • So true. Back in the early ’70s I’d be hearing all these hootings and whistlings around that I assumed were the gangs that came out after dark. The ‘hood is a lot safer now. As in all neighborhoods, neighbors need to keep their eyes n ears open.

    • I moved here in ’78. The neighborhood was not very safe — knots of young men clustered in front of the SIX liquor stores on Cortland. No cars on Cortland, not even parked cars. ONE blinking yellow light, at Bocana, between Bayshore and Mission. I didn’t even know my neighbors because when I got home from work I closed my doors for the night.

      The BHNC, St Kevin’s, and activists who painted over graffiti as soon as it appeared and who gave some buildings on Cortland a fresh coat of paint changed the neighborhood.

      From the old pictures of the ‘hood, it looks as if Bernal was a vibrant and busy place through the 30s and 40s, and perhaps into the 50s.

  9. My point is that people flood into a neighborhood and think they’re in Disneyland. They come to SF all starry-eyed thinking the world loves them. To quote the philosopher Rush Limbaugh: “San Francisco is the pretty whore who won’t love you back.” That’s SF. SF is in love with itself; it is NOT in love with you. It’s a hard city and it won’t embrace you. This means to always be on your guard, for scams, for break-ins, for people who pretend to be your friends but aren’t….

    No, this is not a cynical viewpoint; it’s reality. I happen to love SF, but I also know that it’s an arm’s-length love.

    • I think David meant that if you wish to move into a neighborhood (city) that has a violent reputation, then don’t expect it to change overnight without any involvement from yourself.

    • You won’t win many debates quoting Limbaugh. I’ve had a 2 way love affair with San Francisco most of my life -especially since I moved here, all starry-eyed in 1985. Half of this time has been spent living on Bernal Hill, which has been every bit the close, progressive, caring, quirky, charming, and beautiful neighborhood I hoped it would be. In my case, I get back what I put into my neighborhood, city, and life.

    • Mmmmm, that sounds a bit off topic to me David. I think the point is that our neighborhood is being inundated with a lot more violent-tinged crime than it has seen in awhile, and it’s going to take the community working together to ID these guys and stop the criminal activity. Walking to the grocery store at 8pm on a weekday isn’t being reckless or naive.

  10. My neighbor said that a bit ago, he had taken his dog up the hill for a walk – it was about 5:30, but already almost dark. As he left the “barrier” portion on BHBlvd – maybe about where Anderson would come through? – he turned to call the dog, which was lagging behind. When he turned, he saw three guys in hoodies hiding themselves behind a tree. Since my neighbor is a big guy and he was with a big dog, apparently he was not an attractive target.

    Top of Anderson would make a good hiding place – victim not likely to give chase and easy getaway on Powhattan.

  11. My car was stolen last March from Holly Park Circle off Park on the East side. They apparently just took it joy riding and I got it back in pieces. The level of crime in Bernal is really perturbing… We need more security… A block watch. Something!

  12. Are David Campos, Greg Suhr, and and Capt. Falvey aware of this blog? It seems that a LOT of people have seen suspicious behavior and are writing about it here. None of these incidents on its own would be cause to make a police report, but these descriptions taken together could help catch these a**holes.

    • There have been a lot of police cars out the last couple of nights. I think the police are very aware of this recent spat of muggings.

      • Then again, they mugged someone WHILE the cops were 3 blocks away taking a report of ANOTHER mugging they just committed!! Maybe they need to put out some more information about what these guys look like so we can help ourselves stay safe cause there will never be enough to personally police every block at all times.

  13. I have a fantasy. In times like this, I often feel that we’ve become too dependent on our police departments. Wat if we the people, organized ourselves better in some way to help with this problem and address it more pro actively. Don’t underestimate the power of numbers! Say 50 (20? 100?) willing bernalites volunteer to meet at Cortland @ Andover at dusk to serve as walk home crews. It would put many more eyes out there, grow our community, and send a message. I am aware that guns are involved, and I do not wish to minimize dangers. And I’m not talking about street justice or looking for the perps. But it seems to me that we can and should do more than just spread the word and take precautions about this issue. Anyone?

    • I also was thinking of this. I live one building off Cortland in between Ellsworh and Andover and am grateful that I don’t have to be out alone after dark or can walk my large dog on Cortland. But I worry about those that need to take a bus after dark and then walk from the bus stop but don’t have anyone to meet them. We need to be able to set up a group of chaperones for one who want it.

  14. Very similar muggings are happening a lot recently in Glen Park and Sunnyside, with a very similar MO. (guns, hoodies, getaway cars, “give me all you got”), although I suppose these are common to many muggings. But I do wonder if it’s the same group on a rampage.

    • I think you are right. More than once over the years a crew has gone on crime spree like this. Once they get caught it dies down for some period of time until another little group pops up. This recent sequence seems esp. brazen, notably in the number of robberies and time of day they have occurred.

  15. Pingback: Dogpatch Howler › Armed Robbery Attempted

  16. I understand that these “kids/goons” came from a vehicle, or had someone in a waiting vehicle when these occurred. First, is this correct? And second, does anyone know what make and model and ideally color these guys were driving? It seems like if we knew what they were driving in when they were trolling for victims, we could be on the lookout for a similar matching car while walking. If one does see what looks to be 3 young men suspiciously crusing around the hood, i recommend walking opposite direction on as many one way streets as possible if they are in a car. Better to see what is coming upon you rather than it catching you from behind by surprise. With all of these victims who had a face to face encounter, one would think that a sketch of the suspects would not be too hard to do. Maybe an entire neighborhood in fear of some asshole kids out there trying to make it rain at the safety and fear of us would be enough of a situation for the SFPD to actually put some budget into finding these guys as well as keeping us informed so we can all work together. But none of us are a giant corporation, so it would not surprise me if they did not. Be Safe Bernalwooders!

    • Yes. As I was robbed from these kids. Its a white 4 door. Im almost positive it was an oldsmobile however in times of fight or flight i could be wrong

      • You are a super awesome victim. Good fucking job!!! Way to actually be aware enough to have looked for these things. THANK YOU! I will be at the meeting tonight wearing grey and have my hair in a high braid. Make sure you say hi if you see me there ok? It is nice to know smart people! 🙂 See you there. Hopefully they will send a pd liasion there too.

  17. I feel incredibly fortunate that I wasn’t held at gunpoint. Just last Saturday I was down at Crescent and Ellsworth waiting for the 67 when two males grabbed my phone while I was checking the bus times and the plastic bag I was holding in my other hand.

  18. Other kudos should go to the Northwest Bernal Alliance, which founded the BHNC but has been an independent group from it for years, and to Joe Porcaro, THE neighborhood volunteer (and my ex landlord) who for years would go out at 6am (before going to work) with his truck and lots of gallons of matching paint to paint over graffiti. He, more than anyone else, was responsible for making Bernal graffiti-free.

    • Thank you for putting a name to the “Hero of Bernal Renovation.” I hope Joe is still around and will read that his work was noticed and that I send heartfelt thanks for his work.

      • Joe is very much around and still goes out everyday to paint out/remove graffiti. I will pass on your message. He appreciates knowing that folks notice his work.

      • Joe is getting grant money for some of the material to paint out graffiti but he can always use more (it’s very expensive) so if anyone is moved to make a donation to the NWBA – in honor of Joe (the money goes directly to him and his crew) and your contribution is tax deductible – please send it to:
        North West Bernal Alliance
        P.O. Box 40989
        San Francisco, CA 94140
        Phone: 920.9669

  19. I quoted Rush Limbaugh not because I agree with him politically (I don’t), but because I defer to people, no matter WHAT their political persuasion when they have something truthful to say. And who else would know about SF and whores than Rush Limbaugh?

  20. Jen, I think my point is totally on-topic because people have a very naive feeling about SF; just because it’s pretty does not mean it’s safe or that we’re in Oz. We’re not. People have to watch out for themselves and for their friends and family. This is where getting to know your neighbors comes in very handy.

  21. “It’s a hard city and it won’t embrace you.” – hilarious. Has this David lived elsewhere? Though I have to give him props for trolling hard with a Limbaugh quote.

    As a matter of actual fact, I think most Bernal residents are perfectly aware of where they are – people are hardly leaving doors unlocked, etc. And walking a dog or going home from a grocery store is hardly clueless, naïve behavior.

    The most careless behavior I see is receiving packages during the day at unattended homes – not advised, but most people are otherwise quite on top of locking and securing their persons and premises.

    Look out for each other, take care of each other, and be a bit overly-sensitive about outsiders, loiterers, and those who clearly do not belong. The police will not be annoyed if you call it in “just to be safe”.

  22. Pingback: South Bernal ladies… Be aware! Armed muggings in primetime off of Cortland Ave. (2 incidents in the last 3 days within 3 blocks) | bluepearlgirl's world

  23. I think everyone who has written something here should take a moment and contact our police chief, our supervisor, and the mayor.

    • And in fact those that just read the article should too. We all should if this is a real public safety concern and it sure is to me!! I’ll be writing! (By the way, maybe it would be a good idea to put somewhere on this blog, our pertinent neighborhood contacts information (email addresses for Sups., phone # and or name for our bernal SFPD contact etc., 311, DPT etc. etc.). …just a thought.

  24. I am hearing what Matt says. And I agree I am not talking vigilante energy here but large groups of folks on Cortland at night walking folks home. In the past we have talked about safe blocks where you know you can walk home on that block because homes are on the look out between certain hours. In the past during out bursts of violent crime we have done night time family walks… I helped organize them and I did not do a great job but maybe with Bernalwood and Bernalsafe we could get more folks involved. The police helping us with catching these kids is imperative of course but it is not possible for me to walk around the neighborhood free of stuff and I guess I refuse to hand that power over to armed kids. What can we do safely as a community? A huge text group? What is next for our part in solving this?

    • I totally agree with Darcy up there. We really need A LOT more cooperation with our local law enforcement on catching this group. From what we are reading from neighbors above, it seems like this “gang” of kids has been doing this at least since November and getting more and more prolific. I have not gone out after dark so far this week because i do not feel i can protect myself because i have no idea who i am trying to avoid. We have no description apart from possible ethnicity and a possible age range… young (17-21). How am i supposed to be aware of my surroundings if i dont know what could be dangerous in those surroundings. They are targeting our neighboring neighborhoods as well so maybe they want to partner with us in trying to identify WHO these kids are. They are not going to stop until we stop them and in fact, they are ramping up the attacks and getting more brazen. They are dangerous and we have no idea who they are! I dont want to get pistol whipped or shot in the hand just trying to get groceries to make dinner. This is ridiculous and instead of putting together hundreds of us to escort people here and there, we just need to CATCH these assholes. And FAST! How can we get more information about who these perps are so we can help try and identify them??

      • Unfortunately, from the descriptions of the attacks, the perps have “come out of nowhere” running toward their victims. My neighbor apparently saw them lurking out of sight behind a tree (he just happened to turn around) – he said it gave him the creeps, but at the time didn’t know about the muggings.

        So definitely, if we spot a group of two or three young men who appear to be lurking (as one person saw near the playground just before an attack on someone else) – RAISE THE ALARM! But I don’t think one is likely to “spot” them if one is the target.

      • Especially if they dont know what they are looking for! Plus, if they come up on me in a mugging with a gun, it would not matter if i did see them or even have an escort. That would just be another victim to mug in their eyes. Youth is so blind and sometimes (like here) totally stupid.

      • If they “ran out from nowhere”, then, how do they know that there was one (male) waiting in a vehicle to get away? I KNOW there is a vehicle description that the police have. They just aren’t releasing the info to us.

  25. (I’m a project manager) Shall we start putting a plan in action? I’d suggest scheduling a series of meetings – weekly or more – email will take us only so far in the planning.

    1. Set a time and place to meet
    2. Identify who wants to contribute time to the effort
    3. Identify roles/responsibilities in the group
    4. Outline a plan
    5. Assign duties to individuals to get it done.

    Some of the great ideas listed here:
    Safe blocks (identify the blocks, create a schedule and get folks to sign up)
    Family walks (need to create a schedule and get folks to sign up)
    Walk home crews

    (We’ll need an online scheduling app)

    I’m in favor of discussing Private security – it’s becoming more common across the country. Off-duty police officers likely want the extra work, the officer would be more embedded in our community and raise our interests at Ingleside. Local press would pick it up and City Hall may need to comment.

    A ballpark would be $1000-1500 a week to cover 5pm-11pm. Of course, voluntary and pay as you can. If 150 families paid $500 a year, that covers it. Maybe the business owners on Cortland would want to participate.

    Where and when to have the first meeting?

    • One of my best friends runs a private security firm in the North bay, extremely reputable and professional. I will give him a call and see what he thinks. I will post this to Bernalsafe and see what suggestions other people have as well. I agree that this getting completely out of hand, not only do I not want fiance walking around after a dark, I’m a big, intimidating looking dude, and I’m getting apprehensive as well. No desire to get shot.

    • Sometime before dark! Perhaps a Sunday or Saturday morning/ early afternoon? (I don’t want to have to walk alone during “mugging hours”…)

      Is the BHNC available?
      Thank you, Lisa.

    • I think it is a pretty sad day when one has to hire a PRIVATE security firm to make them feel safe in a relatively safe part of San Francisco!! I personally do not have an extra $500 that i would be willing to hand over to do the job that our police should be doing. A neighborhood meeting WITH THE POLICE sounds more in order here. Once these kids are caught, i wont feel so unsafe anymore. I have been freely walking the streets of this town for almost 20 years and (knock on wood!) not been mugged yet. Usually perps are not this prolific and brazen and these PARTICULAR crooks need to be caught. Then things can go back to normal, for me at least. With the cost of living in SF, you think we should not have to subsidize our frickin safety! Where exactly are our tax dollars going?

  26. Hi All..I was the one who brought up the private security firm yesterday, and am totally on board of course – let’s get this ball rolling, Lisa – excellent outline
    I wrote to Campos, Falvey and Suhr and got this response earlier today from Campos’ office:

    Thank you for your message. I share the concern and am in communication with our captain to make sure they dedicate more resources, including increasing police presence. I will keep you posted on the specific steps that are being taken. Nothing is more important than the safety of our neighborhood and I will keep you posted on the steps we are taking. Thank you again.


  27. Many good ideas. While they are percolating, I want to act immediately -if there’s enough people who believe in the escort concept, lets just start it -tonight -and every night from now on. We’ll work things out as we go -depending on how many show up.

    Tonight -say library porch (?) 5:00 – 5:15(?)
    Let’s put our Bernal brains, bodies, and beliefs together! : )

    • I’m one of those who would be wanting an escort, BTW. I wouldn’t be against joining in with a larger group of people DOING escorting, but I’m a tiny woman over 65- a likely target myself.

  28. Kudos to you all for expressing concern, sharing information and resources, and being willing to take action to support each other! Looking forward to tonights community gathering. I am coming as a visitor from another SF neighborhood also experiencing an upsurge in gun-holding muggings!

    • I wanted to thank all the Bernal neighbors who have posted on Bernalwood and have contacted my office about the recent muggings in the neighborhood. We take what has happened very seriously and please know that we are doing everything we can to deal with recent developments. I have communicated with a number of you but wanted to share the following information with this group.
      I have been in communication with Captain Falvey and have asked him and our Police Department to dedicate additional resources to the neighborhood. To that end, the Police Department has assigned additional officers to the police station, including units from the City’s Violence Reduction Team. In addition to having more uniformed officers, the Captain has increased the presence of plain clothes officers and is increasing their undercover work. They are also working on a more long-term violence prevention strategy to sustain their efforts.
      The Captain informs me that, unfortunately, the increase in muggings is happening City-wide and that many involve attempts to steal i-phones and other smart phones. I encourage you all to visit the Ingleside Station’s website to get more information about recent trends, including some tips on how to increase everyone’s safety: inglesidepolicestation.com
      Thank you very much.

  29. This totally sucks man. I live kinda by the Bernal projects, and see groups of sketchy individuals all the time. Any better descriptions would be rad, the more information, the better.

    • I have to speak up and say how strongly I disagree. David Campos has been very active in public safety and crime issues in Bernal Heights since well before he first ran for Supervisor.

      I’ve lived in Bernal for 15 years, and I was involved in community responses to earlier spikes in street crime, break-ins, gun crimes etc. I first met David when he participated in a working group of community members that gathered at BHNC to urge then Chief Heather Fong to provide resources to Ingleside to support community policing efforts, street patrols, etc. David was an attorney at the school district at the time and a member of the SF Police Commission — and was instrumental in helping us get the attention and increased commitment of SFPD. Like the rest of us, David was putting in volunteer hours at night after work to make our community safe for everyone.

      Flash forward a few years — Though he probably wouldn’t draw attention to his own experience, David was also himself the victim of a mugging on Cortland just above Mission during one of those spikes. He was running for his first term on the Board at the time, and it was covered in local media.

      I’ve had political disagreements with David, but I have absolute faith in David’s commitment to public safety and his genuine concern for this neighborhood, D9, and San Francisco. And I’m grateful that he’s joined this conversation and provided specific details on the response that’s underway.

      • Hear, Hear. I have found Supervisor Campos and his office to be extremely responsive and helpful whenever I have had cause to contact them with concerns.

      • Agreed. I’ve found Supervisor Campos and his aides to be very, very responsive regarding public-safety issues. I disagree with the supervisor on some other matters but have had only positive experiences in this arena.

  30. Since this began I’ve been thinking of ways I can contribute. It is a small gesture, I know, but I have been leaving my porch light on until about 11pm. My street is actually pretty well light, but I just feel like shining a little more light can only be helpful. Perhaps it will light up the “coming out of nowhere” places or perhaps it will allow someone to be able to better see and identify the license plate. I know, it is small, but perhaps, if everyone in Bernal left their porch lights on in the evening until 10 or 11pm, perhaps it would help….

    • Kelly that is awesome, we encourage everyone to be not so eco friendly at the moment until the perps are caught. Every little bit helps to deter..

    • We installed a compact fluorescent bulb and now keep it on all night long. The extra pennies are nothing if it helps make our streets safer.

      • For that reason we installed a dual brite motion sensor light outside our home sometime ago. From dusk until dawn it comes on automatically at low intensity and it has a motion sensor for full bright is someone gets closer. We hoped that this will help ourneighbors and us as our street that tends to be dark and at the same time cut down on light pollution and energy.

  31. As to the comment about not wanting to spend $500 for private security and that the SFPD should be doing more, I call people’s attention to history. SF had a private security organization, the Patrol Special Police long before they had an SFPD. In fact, the Patrol Specials were later incorporated into the SFPD, but still operate independently as paid police. SF has always been a rough city (as I’ve said before, but people refuse to accept), so SF has had private rent-a-cops and vigilante groups that used to hang miscreants.

    The SFPD has to protect a city of over 800,000 residents plus about 500-800,000 additional guests (tourists and out of city people here for special events and for work), so their job is really quite HUGE. The SFPD can provide some coverage but can’t be depended upon to watch every streetcorner.

    I still suggest that the best way to deal with crime is to get to know your neighbors, learn their habits, learn what is supposed to happen and not supposed to happen at the house next door or on the street corner.

    • I was not suggesting that the SFPD forms a task force and descends upon little Bernal. I just want a description of the vehicle and perps. And i think for this string of incidents, we should be communicating with them. Aside from that, i actually think that our beat cops do a pretty good job here in SF. I am a 6th generation local and know how rough it was (from the 1850’s when gangs would wait for the wind to change and then light the city on fire in order to loot it, to when they were dog fighting in the Hayes and Haight St. projects. In fact, i lived a few blocks from those projects on fillmore in the very early 90’s). The city is a CITY. ALL BIG CITIES HAVE CRIME. I know this and expect it. It is just i think a little more communication from the SFPD would be much better than us hiring a bunch of rent a cops to loiter in front of my house. That sounds creepy!

      • I’m not sure what you mean. San Francisco has a full time resident population of over 800,000 people.

      • There are about 1/3-1/2 mill. people here during the day. Only about 100,000 actually reside within the city limits and do not commute in to sf for work. I was saying that there is no way that there are 800,000 full time residents living within SF. It stayed 80-100,000 for almost 30 years. I know that the population has increased thus housing price increase, but they only brought 40,000, not 700,000. This city is just not big enough to hold a pop. of 800,000. It never could be.

      • I sure plan to. I dont see how it could go from 80,000-100,000 for like 25 years to now it be 8x that. I know we have a lot of hi rises being built but i doubt that there are nine hundred thousand people living in those hi rises. We had a million people IN sf during the Giants celebration parade. That felt like TONS of people here. There could not be that many people here every day as plain residents. No way. Numbers can be fudged. Borders can NOT be expanded. I will check it out though.

      • I’m not sure where you’ve been, but SF’s population has been large Until LA surpassed it during the 1940s, SF was the largest city on the West Coast.

      • Blue: Sorry, but you’re waaaaay off the mark. SF Population was 777,000 in 2000, and 722,000 in 1990. San Francisco’s population broke the 100,000 mark sometime in the 1860s.

    • Have you lived in NYC? There are 8 million people. For Manhattan and the other boroughs areas that border close to Manhattan you can walk any time of day or night and feel and be safe. Any gender.
      You would never see the amount of loitering that the SFPD allows in this city. Something like mid-market, tenderloin just would not be tolerated.
      Unfortunately there are too many people in this town who are worried that if we stop letting people do whatever they want then we somehow won’t be progressive and we’ll be speeding up the gentrification process.
      Until the SFPD tells people to move along and stop loitering then this city will always have people hanging out up to no good.

      • Uh, you know that isn’t true, right? San Francisco has a significantly lower crime rate, per capita, than New York. This is true of both violent and non-violent crimes.

  32. How to help? Good question. Find out about your neighborhood organizations. Last I checked there were 3, but it’s been some time since I’ve lived in Bernal, so I don’t know which groups are active today. The local SFPD precinct station would know which are the active local neighborhood groups. So, find out and get active with them!

  33. I saw a flyer promoting a discussion at (in front of?) Martha’s (Cortland @ Ellsworth) Sunday evening at 7:30…

    Carry the minimum, but consider a flashlight and whistle.

  34. Are we giving up on causes of crimes? I fit that description above and wonder about the stares when walking down cortland.. Weird to appear suspicious, for me, others it might harbor resentment, perpetuate the damage.. Are we giving up on causes of crimes?

    • Aaron, thank you for the patient and thoughtful reminder. I don’t think most of the posters here are giving up. Recent and close to home, our fear is focused, understandably, on the now. Let’s assume that the rest of the time many of us are trying to do something about the violence born of the mutual shame in that terrible and mean distance between the haves and have-nots in our community,

  35. Hi all, we met last night for about an hour on the library steps and below is the outcome of our meeting – the flyer put out yesterday is for a group to meet tonight in front of Martha and Bros. at 7:30 for a walk to show solidarity it sounds like. The more communication the better.. Please read below for all that we spoke about last night..still working out how to communicate with everyone.:
    I collected everyone’s email and phone numbers and read aloud Campos’ response to my email and during the hour or so we were there, we must have seen at least 6 police cruisers go up and down Cortland.

    The items that came up were:

    -Safehouses on each block (clearly each block would get involved on their own and designate..)

    -During this period, encourage folks to be perhaps not so cost efficient, but leave on their front porch lights for lighting up dark streets

    -Cut back shrubbery that could hide perps

    -utilize the Good Life bulletin board for updates and announcements – next meetings, safety escort groups etc. (Lester was just saying at the last BBB meeting that he has tons of space for use on the board)

    -Encourage all businesses on Cortland to post the orange Crime alert posters from the police dept.

    -Bring Ingleside officers to our next meeting

    -Invite the Guardian Angels into our hood until the perps are arrested

    -pay for private security vehicle to patrol during high crime time – weeknight evenings etc.

    -have merchants sell plastic whistles, let the Bernal population know that whistles are being implemented and if you hear one, identify where the attack is happening and call the appropriate 911 number

    -Lastly, start the safety escort groups immediately. We talked about groups of no less that 4 volunteers, great excuse for dog walking. You can sign up to volunteer and then we meet at Good Life and wait hopefully wait for a few folks headed in the same direction to escort home. Also for the folks, like the female victim herself, that are afraid to walk their dogs at night alone now.

    We talked about having another meeting perhaps at Progressive Grounds – earlier in the day, so no one is walking home in the dark!

    Our question remains how to disseminate this information to Bernal residents. We know the Bernalwood Blog is heavily read, and another woman mentioned the Yahoo! user group BernalSafe.

    We would love to start the safety escort groups asap, but don’t want folks to have to leave their email, phone numbers out there publicly… perhaps a few folks could serve as command centers and put the info through on the escort group phone tree?!?!

    • Not sure if this was already suggested (I don’t see it), but how about if individuals around the neighborhood volunteer to put flyers in the mailboxes of all homes on specific blocks? Someone would need to coordinate who’s volunteering to cover which streets, but this would be an effective way to reach every resident — particularly those who aren’t online regularly. Flyer content tbd, but I imagine it would be a nutshell version of everything folks are talking about here.

      If there’s interest in this, I’d be happy to help get this going.

  36. Has anyone talked to the SFPD themselves about arranging one of these private “Patrol Specials” for Cortland?
    It seems commercial areas in District 8 already use a lot of these Patrol Specials (see Sup. Wiener’s endorsement of the service on their website), and it appears that only the SFPD Patrol Special Police are authorized to patrol the streets (as opposed to a private business or a private event).
    They appear to be well-organized, and paid off-duty officers are often assigned to their daytime beats, so they know the area and the issues very well.

    • LJ great find, this would be great! I’m happy to coordinate folks interested in contributing.
      Looking forward to seeing everyone tonight at Martha’s

  37. Is the PD going to be at this meeting at Martha Brothers tonight? And if anyone knows ANY of the victims of these attacks and can convince them to come as well, it would be great to be able to hear the details from the horses mouth. Try and talk them into coming… Please!

  38. Pingback: Latest Updates: Neighbors, Supervisor, and SFPD Respond to Spike in Bernal Heights Street Robberies | Bernalwood

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  40. Joe is getting grant money for some of the material to paint out graffiti but he can always use more (it’s very expensive) so if anyone is moved to make a donation to the NWBA – in honor of Joe (the money goes directly to him and his crew) and your contribution is tax deductible – please send it to:
    North West Bernal Alliance
    P.O. Box 40989
    San Francisco, CA 94140
    Phone: 920.9669

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  42. Pingback: Everything You Need to Know About Personal Safety and Crime Prevention in Bernal Heights | Bernalwood

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