Bernal Neighbor Recovers Stolen Scooter From 101/Chavez Encampment

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One Saturday night, someone stole Neighbor Tony’s scooter from outside his home on Precita Avenue.

On Sunday, another neighbor spotted his scooter inside the homeless encampment under the Cesar Chavez/101 interchange. Neighbor Tony tells Bernalwood what happened next:

A neighbor called, and said he saw my scooter under 101 bypass at Ceaser Chavez.

Sure enough it was there, sticking half way out of a tent. We called the police, but to be honest, no police came. So we waved down an officer on a dirt bike. He walked us in, and allowed us to get the bike back.

So let’s just say we stole it back, and they shouldn’t be back for awhile. That tent city probably holds a lot of people’s treasures.

PHOTO: Neighbor Tony walking his recovered scooter back home from the Chavez/101 encampment

Bernal Dwellings Residents Want More Police Patrols to Halt Gun Violence

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As you may recall, SFPD’s Mission Station organized a community safety meeting last Wednesday in response to an ongoing series of gun-related incidents along the Cesar Chavez corridor that have been linked to the Bernal Dwellings affordable housing complex.

MissionLocal attended the meeting, and reporter Laura Waxman writes that Bernal Dwellings residents want more consistent police coverage:

While small in size, the four-block development is prone to violence, and residents there said that conditions have worsened, causing many to remain indoors for fear of being targeted.

“It’s very scary to live here right now because at any moment somebody can come by and start shooting or if they see somebody outside they see them as a target,” said Gina Guitron, Bernal Dwellings’ property manager who is also a resident there.

A January 26 shooting that injured a 52-year-old man while standing in front of a house at 26th Street and Treat Avenue and a 43-year-old man who was targeted moments later while walking in the area prompted Mission Station Police Captain Daniel Perea to call for the community meeting in an effort to discuss neighborhood safety.

On January 1, 21-year-old Ernesto Rosales was shot at 26th and Shotwell streets, marking the city’s first homicide of the year.

“When things happen, we have to step up our presence, we have officers going through here day and night to make sure that this area remains safe,” said Perea.

In response to the recent violence, Perea said that Mission station officers have been assigned swing shifts to extend patrol hours, and support from other units has been requested to ensure greater coverage of the area.

But some residents who attended the meeting said that they did not feel safe at all and that police’s response is too little and often comes too late.

Read the complete story at MissionLocal.

PHOTO:  Markers on the street indicate where gun casings were found after an October 2016 shooting at Precita Park that police linked to gang-related activity around Bernal Dwellings. Photo by Telstar Logistics

Thursday: SFPD Public Safety Meeting on Shootings Around Bernal Dwellings

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The uptick in gun-related crime in the area around the Bernal Dwellings public housing complex on Cesar Chavez continues.

Most recently, there was a shooting at 10 pm on Thursday, Jan. 26 at 26th and Treat that left two men injured, as well as a barrage of gunfire at 26th and South Van Ness at 9:30 pm last Friday, Jan. 27.

In response, Captain Dan Perea from the SFPD’s Mission Station will convene a public safety meeting on Thursday, Feb. 2 at 6 pm at the Garfield Square Park Clubhouse.

Capt. Perea writes:

I am writing to extend an invitation for a public safety meeting I am holding on Thursday, February 2nd, at 6pm. The meeting will be held at Garfield Park Clubhouse.

I have invited representatives from the Mayor’s Street Violence Intervention Program, Bernal dwellings management, SFPD Gang Task Force, Mission Station Housing Team and the District Attorney’s Office.

The purpose of the meeting is to discuss recent violence and the response we are engaged in to prevent further occurrences.

I recognize this is not a great deal of notice. However, I want everyone in the community to know we are working on this issue to keep everyone safe and have an opportunity to ask questions at a meeting held to discuss this specific issue.

Thank you

Captain Dan Perea
Commanding Officer
Mission Station
415-558-5400

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PHOTO: SFPD responding to a shooting in Precita Park in October, 2016, by Telstar Logistics

Two Violent Crimes Plague Precita Avenue Over the Weekend

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Neighbors living near Precita Park are concerned about two violent crimes that took place in the area over the weekend.

Late Saturday night, a neighbor witnessed an assault in Precita Park, as a man on a bike attacked a man walking near the west end of the park. The witness says the victim was apparently beaten to the point of near-uncsciousness.

Then, on Sunday night, Precita Avenue was blocked off west of Shotwell, as SFPD investigated a stabbing that occurred on the steps into the big parking lot along the 100 block of Precita.

Bernalwood reached out to Captain McFadden from SFPD Ingleside this morning for comment. He said both of the weekend incidents are likely connected to the recent wave of gang-related crime. Capt. McFadden told Bernalwood:

All are related to the same gang activity of a few individuals. The [stabbing] victim will be ok. The Gang Task Force is handling the investigation, and hopes to make arrests in the case soon, which should stop the activity completely.

PHOTO: SFPD investigating the scene of the stabbing on the 100 block of Precita Avenue, December 4, 2016, by Telstar Logistics

Wednesday: Follow-Up Meeting About Gang Violence Near North Bernal

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On Wednesday evening, Nov. 30, there will be a follow-up to the  October community meeting about the recent wave of gang violence centered around the Bernal Dwellings housing development — a wave that most recently included a Nov. 14 shooting on Harrison near Cesar Chavez.

The Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center’s meeting announcement says:

Come Join Us for an SFPD Update on Violent Crime in and near Bernal

The Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center and neighbors have organized a follow-up meeting to receive updates on the Precita Park and Bernal Dwellings area shootings, including the November 14 incident.

SFPD’s Gang Task Force members, along with Ingleside Station and Mission Station representatives, will be in attendance.

>> To help keep the meeting to an hour, please submit questions in advance to jmoore@bhnc.org.

Date: Wednesday, 11/30/2016
Time: 7 to 8 pm
Location: Leonard Flynn Elementary
Harrison @ Cesar Chavez (cafeteria)
(Please enter from Harrison side of school through schoolyard).

PHOTO: Police on the scene of a gang-related shooting at Precita Park, October 8, 2016. By Telstar Logistics

Your Bernal Heights Crime Summary for November 2016: Beware Holiday Parcel Grinches!

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Neighbor Sarah, your valiant volunteer Bernal Heights crime correspondent, attended the SFPD Ingleside Community meeting this month, and she filed these summary notes on the latest Bernal Heights crime trends. Read on, read carefully, mind your holiday parcels, and stay safe:

Notes from Ingleside Station Community Police Advisory Board Meeting
November 14, 2016

  • There’s been an uptick in robberies on the Mission corridor from Geneva up to Silver. Had been down the past ~7 months or so.
  • Recent shooting on 26th/Harrison (11/14) was related to ongoing gang problems. The MS-13 gang has been hooking up with Surenos to go against Nortenos. Primarily 15-18-year-olds. New SFPD unit, separate from Gang Task Force, is working on this, and it’srun out of Narcotics. Focused on Bayview, Ingleside, and Mission. Two Ingleside undercover officers now in that unit. NOTE: The Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center has organized a meeting about this on 11/30 at 7pm at the Flynn Elementary cafeteria; email James Moore at jmoore@bhnc.org for more information.
  • Holiday season approaching, so package thieves are back in action. Have packages sent to your office or a business that will hold shipments. Or arrange with your neighbors to pick up each other’s packages and leave notes when you do.
  • New Police Academy class graduating in two weeks, then another two weeks after that. Ingleside has received 7 new recruiters who are now doing their training at the station.
  • New SFPD Chief selection is  waiting on mayor’s decision. Should be fairly soon.
  • Ingleside Station lost its permits office,  Rob Rueca – he is now in the public information office of SFPD.
  • New homeless outreach officers are Rich Curry and Chad Campos.
  • Proposition 64 (statewide marijuana legalization) should make no real difference locally, since SFPD has not been focusing on marijuana citations. You can carry up to 2 oz and grow 6 plants per adult. Still cannot smoke it in places where you can’t smoke cigarettes. Neither drivers NOR passengers are allowed to be smoking pot. Cannabis task force working on new rules.
  • Email the captain (joseph.mcfadden@sfgov.org) with problematic intersections where SFPD should do traffic enforcement.
  • Bridge is taking over management of the Alemany housing project and starting work; also, fences going up, cameras being added.
  • No community meeting in December. January meeting will be 1/17/16 at the Visitacion Valley Boys and Girls Clubs at 7pm.

SFPD Traces Violent Crime Spike in Bernal Heights to Increased Gang Activity

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During Monday night’s meeting held to address a disturbing spike in violent crime in Bernal Heights, San Francisco police officers told a room of about 50 concerned Bernal neighbors that many of the recent incidents are related to increased gang activity.

Police say they believe much of this violence — including the Oct. 8 shooting at Precita Park and incidents of gunfire near the Bernal Dwellings public housing project at Folsom and 26th Street — is a ripple-effect from gang-related homicides on Shotwell near 24th Street. Police also said some of the violence is concentrated around Bernal Dwellings, where gang-members tend to have a more adversarial relationship with other Mission gangs

Captain Joseph McFadden from the SFPD’s Ingleside Station emphasized that the victims involved in most of the recent incidents were specifically targeted, and that the violence was not random. “”You probably won’t get into any trouble yourself unless you’re in a gang,” Mc Fadden said. “But that’s not to say you can’t get shot.”

However, the recent incident on Coleridge, during which a Bernal parent was beaten after asking several youths to quiet down, is not believed to have been gang-related.

Officers from the SFPD’s Gang Task Force said gang-related activity tends to have a cyclical ebb and a flow. Sometimes the root causes of violence turn out to be silly, but the  pattern has peaks and valleys, and right now we seem to be in a peak. Viewed within the context of past patterns, they said, the activity taking place right now doesn’t seem particularly unusual, although it is on the high side.

At several points during the conversation, police pointed out that SFPD staffing levels are currently quite low. Many residents were astonished to hear that the Gang Task Force has only 12 officers now, down from about 45 in the mid- to late-2000s.

Police said they are doing the best we can with the resources available. They repeatedly stressed that the only way to move forward is with community participation, which may include providing statements and testimony when crimes go to trial.

Police also emphasized that video cameras have dramatically transformed how crime is investigated and prosecuted. Sidewalk-facing cameras  on private homes are an invaluable resource, and officers encouraged residents to be proactive about reaching out to investigating officers to provide footage after incidents occur. Being proactive saves a lot of time, they said, because officers don’t have to go knocking on every door to find videos.

Several neighbors — including the wife of man beaten in the Coleridge incident — complained about having experienced a slow or indifferent response from SFPD beat officers when trying to report crimes in-progress.

Captain McFadden said that if police are slow to respond, Bernal neighbors can escalate incidents by calling Ingleside Station directly at (415) 404-4000 and asking to speak to the  PC — the Platoon Commander. There’s always one on duty, and the PC oversees all activity in the precinct during  each shift. Tell the PC how long you’ve been waiting, and be very specific about the problem.

Neighbor Sarah from BernalSAFE also attended Monday’s meeting; here are her notes, for addition detail:

Notes from SFPD Community Meeting
October 17, 2016

Attending:

  • Captain McFadden – Ingleside Station
  • Lt. Caturat – Mission Station
  • Sgts. Brown and Lao – Gang Task Force

Capt. McFadden (Ingleside Station):

  • Recent incidents at Bernal Dwellings, Precita Park, and numerous locations in the Mission are believed to be gang-related (possibly MS-13) and not random. Gang Task Force is investigating each.
  • Call in suspicious CONDUCT (not appearance) when you see it; don’t just post on Nextdoor. Can call 911 (crime in progress) or non-emergency dispatch (553-0123) for suspicious activity – e.g., drugs, casing cars, etc.
  • If an event occurs, be proactive about sending in video or giving an eyewitness account – be specific. Captain McFadden will take your video personally – joseph.mcfadden@sfgov.org
  • The recent events seem to be gang activity carrying over from the Mission – retaliation, etc. Coleridge Mini-Park assault was not gang-related. Alemany homicide also not gang-related.
  • Q from audience: wife of man assaulted at Coleridge Mini-Park said many neighbors had called 911; slow response and victim/witnesses discouraged from filing report. Captain McFadden said to call Platoon Commander for slow response – 404-4000.
  • Q from audience: do we have enough cops? Currently 104 at Ingleside, down from full staffing levels.

Lt. Cataract (Mission Station):

  • Incidents are related; victims were targeted.
  • Believe activity started a few months ago; investigations are active.

Gang Task Force:
Sgts. Brown and Lao focus on Mission-based gangs.

  • Nortenos and Surenos – way more Nortenos than Surenos (50-60 Nortenos for every Sureno).
  • Recent activity is Nortenos feuding with other Nortenos; MS-13 possibly involved.
    Many MS-13 jailed in mid-2000s. Activity picking up again in LA and SF.
  • GTF has 12 people total, down from peak of 45.
  • Precita Park victim had Norteno ties. When gang members are victims, they often don’t cooperate.
  • 2 recent shootings in Bernal Dwellings under investigation.
  • Gang activity tends to have peaks and valleys. Right now seeing a peak.
  • Recruiting age for gangs is middle school.
  • GTF works with federal task forces.
  • For a city of its size, SF’s gang problem is bigger than you’d expect.
  • Community involvement helps cases go all the way to prosecution (witness accounts, video). Mentioned a law that allows GTF to testify for you in preliminary hearings if you’ve given video, so you don’t have to appear until jury phase.
  • Cameras very helpful. Proactively call station if you have video – saves time in investigation.
  • Gangs less obvious these days in terms of dress/gang colors/etc. Now more concerned about being fashionable than representing their allegiances.

Q&A

Q: Has there been an uptick in robberies overall?
Not relative to normal levels.

Husband of woman robbed on block with a series of similar robberies – they gave video, witness accounts, etc. & didn’t see much action from police.

Q: Do Mission & Ingleside share reports?
Yes, every morning.

Q: If you have a bad experience with an officer
Get the officer’s name and badge number and report to captain. Many of the officers on the streets now are new to the force, so they still have a lot to learn

Q: What does SFPD do when there’s gang activity?
Additional patrols, more undercover officers.

Q: How does the Gang Task Force monitor gangs?
Now involves social media (Snapchat and Instagram) in contrast to past.

Q from store owner on Mission: Is there gang graffiti to look out for?
If you see likely gang-related graffiti, take a photo and send in to 311 or martin.ferreira@sfgov.org (he’s graffiti officer). Gang graffiti typically Roman numerals or numbers, won’t be artistic. E.g., XIV, 14, 22V (I think).

Community Groups Focused on At-Risk Youth:

Finally, and poignantly, this is what Neighbor Nina said she learned from the meeting, as shared in a Bernalwood comment:

These were my takeaways:

1. The police dept, including gang task force, is sorely understaffed and the staff they do have are too green to know wtf they are doing

2. It is no longer the job of police to serve and protect. Rather, it is to capture and prosecute. If they don’t think they have enough info to prosecute, they will not take time to capture. Relates directly to understaffing and inability to be proactive, operating in only a reactive state.

3. Dispatch has to prioritize calls, they get 50 or more noise complaints a night, that is why they are sometimes slow to respond. The police prioritize gun shots, robberies, etc over noise complaints. If you think it is going to escalate to violence, ask to talk to the PC (platoon commander) to have the call prioritized. (This relates back to being understaffed)

4. The police cannot keep us safe. They recommend dodging crossfire and reassure us that we are not the targets unless we are in a gang.

5. The last 5 MINUTES of the meeting, while people were leaving, was devoted to neighborhood groups who are actually doing the work that will protect us and keep us safe. The whole hour should have been dedicated to hearing them and learning how to get involved in their groups. The COMMUNITY is the way to PREVENT the violence. The police can’t do anything. We have to.

PHOTO: Capt. McFadden at the Oct. 17, 2016 Community Meeting, by Telstar Logistics