SFPD Begins Foot Patrols in Bernal Heights

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Officers from the San Francisco Police Department have started foot patrols in Bernal Heights, says Capt. Joseph McFadden from SFPD’s Ingleside Station.

Via Neighbor Sarah, Bernal’s valiant volunteer crime correspondent, Bernalwood has learned that two officers have been permanently assigned to the new foot patrols, which began last weekend.

The Bernal foot patrols will be conducted by Officer Al Chan and Officer Kevin Endo, and Capt. McFadden encourages Bernal neighbors to get to know the officers. “Please stop them and say hello,” he says.

McFadden says new foot patrols will mainly focus on Cortland Avenue, but the officers can walk around the area if there are problems elsewhere.  Recently, neighbors have reported seeing SFPD foot patrols on Bernal Hill as well.

Capt. McFadden says he plans to add more foot patrol officers in Bernal Heights as more personnel are assigned to Ingelside Station.

PHOTO: Sara Bassett

BREAKING: Heavily Armed Police Raid Home on Anderson Street

Neighbor K. shared this photo captured at the scene as a police team raided a house on the 700 block of Anderson Street in Bernal Heights earlier today.

Neighbor K says the raid included “multiple armored vehicles, dogs, at least 15 officers in full gear.”

Neighbors at the scene said the raid was conducted by the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), but this has not been confirmed.

UPDATE: According to ABC-7, the Anderson Street was likely part of an ATF operation that resulted in numerous arrests as part of an investigation focused on guns, stolen cars, drugs, and fences for stolen property.

Donations Stolen After Rocket Dog Rescue Founder Mugged Near Bernal Home

Ugh. Broke Ass Stewart reports that Neighbor Pali, founder of the fabulous Rocket Dog Rescue,  was mugged near her Bernal home this week. Stewart writes:

Besides her personal belongings the thieves also got away with all the donations she’d collected at a Rocket Dog fundraiser earlier in the evening. For those unfamiliar, Rocket Dog Rescue is a “San Francisco Bay Area dog rescue organization run by a group of dedicated volunteers. We save dogs from death at over-crowded shelters and find them loving, happy homes.”

This is obviously sad for many reasons. It’s a shame when anybody gets attacked and robbed, especially someone so dedicated to doing good. It’s also heartbreaking because that money will not be going towards helping doggies that really need it.

If you feel like helping Rocket Dog recoup the loss please donate here. They will appreciate it immensely.

Pali gave me permission to share her original Facebook post about the mugging. Here it is below:

I hesitate to write this..
but I’m furious and hurt and a little banged up..
so here goes.

as I parked tonight about to step out I saw a fast shadow coming up close to my car and turned fast to lock the door but before I could four (5?) men,
one big oaf with a a gun/pretending to have a gun-

pulled the door open- pulled me out grabbed my throat and slammed my head against the car while saying “shhhh” (that’s crazy right?)
I yelled “F#%K NO” and shoved him back as hard as I could so that he stumbled and fell 
but his buddies had already ran behind me grabbed everything and ran.

I’m upset with myself because it is literally the only time that I’ve not had a dog with me.

The thing that really hurts me is that I’d been out at a rocket dog event all day, all the RD donations and checks that were to be deposited in the morning -gone.

(headed to the bank first thing in the morning to put a stop on everything)

Credit cards, phone. gone.

I went upstairs to get my big giant hounddog girl Calamity Jane and ran down the hill searching for anything that might have been thrown out. nothing.

No use calling the police.

I’m really just so sad. really it just feels dirty.

Neighbor Pali is understandably shaken up, but if you’d like to help replace some of what was lost, please consider making a donation to Rocket Dog Rescue.

PHOTO: Neighbor Pali, via Broke Ass Stewart and Rocket Dog Rescue on Facebook

Officials Seek to Reassure Residents After Homicide Victim Found on Bernal Hill

There was a capacity crowd at last night’s community meeting to discuss the grim discovery of San Francisco resident Giovanny Alvarez’s body on Bernal Hill in the early hours of May 25. Several local TV stations were on hand at the meeting too, along with Neighbor Sarah who she shared these useful notes about what transpired:

First speaker: D9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen
Ronen invited Giovanny Alvarez’s family to attend. Police don’t believe it was a random incident; the Bernal community is not in danger. Police are investigating and are therefore able to provide only limited info.

Second speaker: Katherine Alvarez – sister of the homicide victim
She seeks justice for brother, family, and community. They don’t think anyone is safe while killer is still on the loose. If anyone has any information, please contact police or family. She handed out a flyer with more information and contact details.

Third speaker: SFPD Captain Joseph McFadden from Ingleside Station
Emphasized that people should call with any info from May 24-May 25. Can’t say much because of ongoing investigation. He has doubled patrols on Bernal Hill.

Questions from the community:

Q: Did cameras catch anything? Should we have emergency call boxes on the hill?
A: McFadden would love more cameras. Solar-powered camera on hill has been checked. Encourages everyone on side streets to look at their private-camera footage for May 24/25, especially on streets leading up to the hill. Report anything you notice. Call 404-4000 (Ingleside station) or inglesidestation@sfgov.org.

Q: Is there any increase in criminal activity on the hill?
A: No, it had been quiet before this (at least in terms of violent crime).

Q: Neighbor who lives across from park says activity like drinking, graffiti, etc. has increased in the last 3 years.
A: SFPD has created a fixed post on the hill now on “fat nights” (when station has max staffing) – a car sits up there to prevent criminal activity of all sorts.

Q: How can you convince us we are safe?
A: Stepped up patrols and undercover. Supervisor Ronen added that the crime was very likely NOT random and that it is safe for joggers, dogwalkers, etc. Alvarez family disagreed and said no one is safe.

Q: Another neighbor who lives on the hill observed that when the temperature climbs above 60, get groups drinking.
A: Police aware of this as well.

Q: Is the (legal) overnight parking on Bernal Hill contributing to late-night criminal activity?
A: Not related to this particular crime; link up with Supervisor Ronen’s staff to discuss issue separately.

Fourth speaker: Arturo Carrillo, Street Violence Intervention Program (SVIP)
The Street Violence Intervention Program (SVIP) is run out of the mayor’s office to prevent retaliation. She is advocating for resources for both SFPD and SVIP this budget season. SVIP works one-on-one with at-risk youth in community to prevent gang activity, retaliation after violent incidents, etc.

Also have a street violence response team that meets every Wednesday, with key stakeholders (DA, SF General, probation, etc) on helping victims and families and preventing retaliatory actions. Promote conflict mediation. Also distribute meals into public housing.

Q: Should we call SVIP instead of SFPD (to avoid unnecessary contact between youth and police and/or violent confrontations)?
A: Yes, you can do that. SVIP usually works 11am-8pm M-F + weekend hours. They do have a crisis response team as well. Arturo: 415-652-3924, acarrillo@healthright360.org.

Other info:
Carolina Morales is the staff member for Sup. Ronen who focuses on public safety.

The DA’s office maintains a registry of private (home/business) cameras to use when they seek footage related to crimes. You can register your camera here.

Bernalwood would like to extend special thanks to Neighbor Sarah for sharing her notes.

PHOTO: Sup. Hillary Ronen and Capt. Joseph McFadden at the May 31 community meeting. Photo courtesy of Neighbor Sarah

“Devastated” Family of Bernal Homicide Victim Seeks Witnesses, Answers

Giovanny Alvarez, shown in a family photo with two of his children

There’s a community meeting scheduled for tomorrow night, Wed., May 31, at 6 pm at the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center (515 Cortland) to discuss the homicide that took place last week, when the body of a man who had been fatally stabbed was found on the south side of Bernal Hill in the early hours of the morning on May 25.  Capt. Joseph McFaden from SFPD’s Ingleside Station and D9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen will be in attendance.

The Medical Examiner’s Office has identified the victim as Giovanny Alvarez, 33, a San Francisco resident.

According to Giovanny Alvarez’s family, the victim was a family man and the father of four children. He grew up on Moultrie Street in Bernal Heights and attended Leonard Flynn Elementary School next to Precita Park before moving to The Bayview.

“We’re devastated. We’re also frustrated,” Alvarez’s sister told Bernalwood. “We’re desperate to know what happened.”

“He was a normal person who liked going out with friends, but we don’t know what happened or who he was with,” she said. “Our family is looking for justice, not only for us, but for our whole community. We don’t feel safe knowing there is a killer walking the streets. We don’t want this case to be just another murder that goes unsolved here in San Francisco.”

Alvarez’s family is looking for information from anyone who may have seen Giovanny on the night of May 24-25, or witnessed the crime. Please call the San Francisco Police Department Tip Line at (415) 575-4444. Tipsters may remain anonymous.

In addition, Alvarez’s family has set up a GoFundMe page to help defray costs associated with his burial.  They write:

Giovanny Alvarez a Beloved father, son, uncle and friend. He was loved by many, his laughter brightened our day and he didn’t deserve to die like he did. He was passionate, artistic, and funny. People took him away from us too soon, he was too young. He was murdered on May 25th , 2017 and left to die in our local park In San Francisco. The police is investigating and trying to get justice for our beloved Gio. If you have any information regarding this monstrous crime please contact the police as soon as possible. Please help and share so we can properly bury him how he deserved and wanted. Keep us in your prayers and thank you so much.

En español

Giovanny Alvarez un Querido padre, hijo, tío y amigo. Él fue amado por muchos, su risa iluminó nuestro día y no merecía morir como lo asecinaron. Él era apasionado, artístico, y divertido. Su vida fue arrebatada de el y nosotros tomó nosotros demasiado pronto, él era demasiado joven. Fue asesinado el 25 de mayo de 2017 y abandonado para morir en ub parque local en San Francisco. La policía está investigando y tratando de conseguir justicia para nuestro amado Giovanny. Si tiene una informacion de este monstroso crimer porfavor llamar a la policia. Por favor ayude y comparta para que podamos enterrarlo adecuadamente como se merecía y quería.Manténgannos en sus oraciones y muchas gracias.

Body of Fatally Stabbed Man Found on Bernal Hill

Bernal Hill is closed this morning as the SFPD investigates an apparent homicide.

According to media reports from ABC7,  The Examiner, and SFGate, the body of a man who had been fatally stabbed was found on  Bernal Hill at about 5:30 this morning. The body was discovered on the south side of Bernal Hill, just inside the Anderson Street gate.

SFGate reports:

A person taking a stroll in the park discovered the body and called police about 5:30 a.m., said Sgt. Michael Andraychak of the San Francisco Police Department.

“Officers responded and found a male victim. He was suffering from apparent stab wounds,” Andraychak said.

Paramedics went to the scene and declared the victim dead.

Bernalwood has been in contact with the neighbor who first discovered the body. He says:

The body was found at around 5:15am this morning at Bernal Park, on Bernal Hts Blvd where the path to Bocana starts. Grossly mutilated body with stab wounds. It was gruesome. No witnesses.

There has been a lot of crime, often violent recently on Bernal Hill. It’s about time we disallow overnight parking from 2am to 6am between Anderson to Carver. Since the city has banned overnight parking in other parts of The City, much of it now comes to Bernal. People sleeping in cars, illegal dumping, prostitution. I’ve seen it all.

Video footage captured by NBC Bay Area appears to show a camouflaged knife sheath found on the scene:

The Examiner adds:

Anyone with information is asked to call the San Francisco Police Department Tip Line at (415) 575-4444 or Text a Tip to TIP411 and begin the message with SFPD. Tipsters may remain anonymous.

Bernalwood will update this story as additional details become available.

UPDATE, 10:30 am: D9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen will hold a community meeting on Wednesday, May 31 at the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center at 6 pm to discuss this incident. Ronen says:

Early this morning a man who had been stabbed to death was found by a jogger in Bernal Heights Park. While little information is known at this time, the police do not believe the killing was random. Extra patrols will be in and around the park. Captain McFadden and I will be hosting a community meeting on Wednesday May 31st at 6:00 pm at the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center on Cortland to discuss what is known about this tragic murder and public safety concerns in the community.

PHOTO: Top, The crime scene on Bernal Hill this morning. Photo via Amy Hollyfield of ABC7 News.

UPDATED: 95 Year-Old Woman Assaulted by Tent-Dweller at Proposed Residential Shelter Site

A 95 year-old woman was assaulted Saturday morning by a man living in the tent encampment outside 1515 South Van Ness, the site of a proposed residential homeless facility.

The assault took place at approximately 9:30 am on Saturday morning. The victim is a 95 year-old woman who has been a Mission resident since the 1930s.  According to several sources familiar with the incident, the victim saw two people drinking at a tent on the corner of 26th Street and Shotwell, and chastised them for their insobriety. A verbal altercation ensued, and when the elderly woman reached for her phone to call the police, one of the tent-dwellers reportedly grabbed her arm and began twisting it.

Two bystanders who were walking near 26th and Shotwell witnessed the scene, and began yelling at the drunken man to release the elderly woman. The perpetrator tried to run away. One of the bystanders gave chase, catching the man on Horace Street and detaining him until police arrived.

Meanwhile, the other bystander stayed with the elderly woman and escorted her home to her family. Police soon arrived, along with an ambulance, and the victim was transported to St. Luke’s Hospital. Along the way, the victim reportedly drove by the incident scene to positively identify the man who had assaulted her. The two bystanders who intervened to help the victim also served as witnesses in the police report. At St. Luke’s, the victim was treated for bruises and sprained arm.

The victim’s family says they intend to press charges against the perpetrator.

“It’s really scary when I think what could have happened if not for those two witnesses,” said the victim’s daughter, who lives near the incident scene.

“They don’t allow alcohol or drugs inside Navigation Centers [like the one proposed at 1515 South Van Ness], so we’ll have more of this happening on the sidewalks,” she said. “To have this happen now is very distressing.”

According to several sources familiar with the incident, an officer on the scene reportedly said the perpetrator would likely be released from police custody within 24 hours. Bernalwood contacted Capt. Bill Griffin from Mission Station for an update on the case over the weekend, but we have not yet received a response.

This story will be updated as additional information becomes available.

UPDATE: May 9: Reporter Filipa Ioannou from the San Francisco Chronicle spoke with the SFPD about the incident:

The woman got into an argument around 9:30 a.m. Saturday with two people that escalated into an assault when a man grabbed and twisted her arm near the intersection of 26th and Shotwell streets, according to the San Francisco Police Department.

The woman was not seriously injured, but was taken to a hospital for treatment partially because of her advanced age, according to Officer Robert Rueca, a spokesman for the San Francisco Police Department.

A man suspected in the assault was arrested, but his name was not immediately released.

That said, the Chronicle misstates the victim’s age. Her family confirms that she is 95, and not 92, as reported in the Chronicle.

PHOTO: Encampment at the incident scene, 1515 South Van Ness, Sunday, May 7, 2017, 5 pm, by Telstar Logistics