Crime at 16th and Mission streets and the recent spate of shootings on 24th Street were at the top of the agenda for the 40 residents who attended the monthly neighborhood police meeting Tuesday night.
Mission Station is well aware of issues at 16th and Mission streets, Capt. Bob Moser said, and officers have been giving the area “a little extra attention.”
Just that day, Moser said, a single officer had issued 13 citations for quality-of-life infractions such as loitering, drinking in public and littering.
Another common offense in that area is “peddling without a permit, [for] the folks that lay their stuff out on the sidewalks.” On Monday, police arrested someone selling wares at 16th and Hoff streets.
One attendee was grateful for the extra attention.
“I want to applaud the fact that you did go down there,” he said. “Thank you.”
But the gratitude was far from universal.
“I find it very, very disturbing when I go down there,” said one man in the audience. When friends visit him, he added: “they just don’t feel safe. What are you guys doing as far as patrolling it? Because every time I go down there, I never see BART police.”
“I can tell you, we’ve made in excess of 130 arrests at 16th and Mission since April,” Moser said. “That’s not issuing tickets, it’s arrests.” However, Moser said, that number proves that “arrests alone isn’t going to solve the problem.”
“It’s going to take a concerted effort, which we’re kind of on the cusp of, working with the community and working with other agencies.”
But the audience member was not swayed. “To me, I see no progress,” he said.
Moser also updated the community about the four shootings along 24th Street in the last month. Police have made arrests in two of the cases, he said.
One suspect was arrested in connection with a June 26 shooting that occurred at 24th and Harrison streets. Another suspect was arrested leaving the scene of a shooting at 24th and Shotwell streets on July 20. Police said the suspect was found in possession of a firearm, but it is not clear whether that was the gun that was fired, said Moser.
The SFPD has “some very good leads” regarding a July 10 shooting at 24th and Folsom streets, Moser said.
Moser had no updates regarding the July 23 shooting at 24th and Harrison streets.
“All of these investigations are under investigation by the Gang Task Force,” he said.
The number of shootings in July was the same as in June, Moser said, but the total number so far this year is 29, compared to 18 for the same time period in 2011. However, the number of shooting victims is down 21 percent compared to last year.
The number of weapon seizures by police has also increased, Moser said.
Officers have seized approximately eight or nine firearms in the past several weeks, he said, bringing the total to 13 so far this year, including knives and other weapons. That’s a 16 percent increase compared to last year, he added.
“I’ve been hearing a lot of complaints from a lot of neighbors and merchants along 24th Street,” said Erick Arguello of the Lower 24th Street Merchants and Neighbors Association. Arguello said that he has also noticed a spike recently in crimes like loitering and muggings.
“We haven’t seen our beat officers in a long time,” Arguello said. “There is a difference when they’re there versus when they’re not.”
But Moser reassured Arguello that the beat cops “were never removed.”
“We try to get seven-days-a-week coverage, which we don’t get all the time, in addition to gang enforcement officers, plain-clothes officers, which are there on every day of the week,” he said.
There are no fewer than two officers along 24th Street at any given time, with as many as eight, the captain said. Since the recent shootings, police have added more patrols from 11 p.m. to 9 a.m., including some by plainclothes officers.
“We’re just trying to saturate the area as much as possible,” said Moser.
“On my block, I do occasionally see a group of young people all dressed in one color,” said a man who lives on Alabama and 24th streets. He asked the captain if he should be concerned about that.
Any remotely suspicious activity should be reported, Moser said, adding that all police stations have anonymous tip lines. SFPD can also receive tips via email or text message (address the message to 847411 and include “SFPD” somewhere in the text field).