Crimes in the Mission District fell by some 13 percent between 2008 and 2009, according to a report given during Wednesday’s Police Commission Meeting held by Captain Gregory Corrales, Commanding Officer of the Mission Police Station.
Corrales also used the time to ask the commissioners to give officers the option to use tasers and shared a story of his early days as an officer assigned to narcotics. When he was serving a search warrant during those years, the suspect shot one of the officers, and then turned to shoot Corrales.
“It was him or me, and I know I had no choice,” Corrales recalled. It “still troubles me today that I took a human life.”
“I don’t want any of my officers to have to go through life haunted by the thought that if they’d had a taser, they wouldn’t have had to take a human life that they took when they had no other alternative,” he said.
Police Chief George Gascon agrees and the matter will be settled soon. In the meantime, Corrales reported, crime has dropped in every major crime area for the Mission District.
Rapes declined to 17 in 2009, from 22 in 2008, aggravated assaults to 411, down from 445 and robberies dropped to 505 from 594.
There were four homicides in the Mission in 2009, a sharp drop from 16 the previous year.
Captain Corrales credited the gang injunction for the fall off. The report presented to the Commission, noted a “marked decrease in gang-related crime by certified gang members,” since the inception of the civil gang injunction that forbids a list of gang members from frequenting certain sections of the Mission.
Other crimes seeing a decrease in 2009: burglaries, 415 from 518 in 2008 and larceny to 2128 from 2413. Thieves even drove off with fewer cars: 707 in 2009 compared to 828 a year earlier.
“One of our primary strategies in reducing the crime rate in the Mission District is very vigorous narcotic enforcement”, said Corrales. So far, in 2010 122 suspects have been arrested in drug cases, “just in undercover buys and then arrests of the drug dealers.”
Of the drug arrests, eight were for marijuana. Corrales noted that while police doesn’t “emphasize” marijuana enforcement, they will continue to patrol Dolores Park, a place notable for pot sales. “We don’t want to loose Dolores Park again,” he said.
The Police Commission is expected to vote on the use of tasers during the next Regular Police Commission meeting, scheduled for March 3.