Police Community Meeting Offers Domestic Violence Resources

Lindsay Sweetnam talks to community members about Casa's resources for victims of domestic violence. Photo by Erica Hellerstein

Lindsay Sweetnam talks to community members about Casa's resources for victims of domestic violence. Photo by Erica Hellerstein

In a break from its usual format at Mission Station, the community meeting hosted by the San Francisco Police Department at the Good Samaritan Family Resource Center on Tuesday offered presentations from the domestic violence agency La Casa de las Madres and the Department of Public Health.

La Casa’s community programs director, Lindsay Sweetnam, talked to residents who had gathered for the meeting about the group’s crucial work to provide shelter, support and legal advocacy to victims of domestic violence.

“Domestic violence is something we’ve all seen in the news a lot lately, and statistics show that one out of three women will experience domestic violence sometime in their life, and it’s traditionally an under-reported crime,” Sweetnam said.

She also provided background information on the center, including its history and services, and talked about various forms of abuse, both mental and physical, as well as resources for victims of domestic violence.

Following her presentation, community members inquired about La Casa’s relocation support services and volunteer opportunities at the center.

“I will say with full confidence that we would not be able to run without the amazing volunteer program that we have,” Sweetnam said.

Following La Casa’s presentation, a representative of the Department of Public Health talked about off-sale liquor licenses and their regulation in San Francisco. Off-sale alcohol outlets are retail establishments that are authorized to sell beer, wine and/or distilled spirits that are taken elsewhere to be consumed, the presenter explained.

She spoke about statewide regulations for selling alcohol and the Deemed Approved Uses Ordinance, a local law that requires businesses that sell alcoholic beverages to maintain their businesses in an upright and lawful manner for the community. She also provided a map of off-sale alcohol outlets in the city by supervisorial district.

“We have data about higher rates of violent crime, drug sales, money laundering — wherever you have higher density of alcohol you’re going to see higher rates of all these things. The corner stores present a different kind of issue in San Francisco because there’s just so many of them,” she said.

After the presentations, Moser conducted the meeting as usual, providing an overview of crime statistics from Oct. 14 to Nov. 10, then opening up the floor to questions and comments.

Overall, Moser said, robberies were down 25 percent while aggravated assaults were up 67 percent. There was a 15 percent increase in violent crime, with no change in burglaries, which hovered at 36. Auto theft was down 22 percent.

Moser noted that the numbers and results were skewed because of the chaos and vandalism that happened following the Giants’ World Series win.

He outlined a handful of “outstanding arrests” over the Thanksgiving break. This included the Nov. 21 arrest of a suspect for locker burglaries at a health club, the arrest of a suspected cell phone thief and recovery of the stolen phone on Nov. 23, and a Nov. 24 arrest in a residential burglary.

Following Moser’s presentation on crime statistics, community members voiced numerous neighborhood grievances, the majority pertaining to the persistent prostitute and pimp problem on Capp and Shotwell.

“This is worse than it ever was before, in my opinion,” said one Mission resident.

Moser responded that since Sept. 1, police have made 87 arrests for prostitution on Capp and Shotwell.

Regardless, he conceded, “prostitution is still a big issue.”

Other residents complained of menacing and threatening activity on Harrison and 24th streets, with large groups of teenagers loitering on the street “in a very intimidating fashion.”

“They take over the whole block,” a longtime resident lamented.

Moser suggested the creation of a neighborhood watch group for the 2800 block of Harrison Street.

“That would be a great, great first step,” Moser said. “There is strength in numbers. It’s a way to empower a neighborhood.”

Residents agreed that this could be a viable solution.

“I have so much of my life invested in that house, and I hate coming home, I really do,” said a Harrison Street resident. “I should not be overrun from my house.”

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