Overall crime in the Mission District was up last month, San Francisco Police Department Capt. Robert Moser told neighborhood residents at Tuesday’s monthly community meeting.
Crimes in the Mission increased 30 percent during the last reporting period, from Jan. 13 to Feb. 9, the captain said.
Overall crime in the neighborhood for the year to date still lags behind last year’s figures, however.
Roughly two dozen neighbors turned out for Tuesday’s community police forum at the Mission police station. Some had questions about recent violent crimes in the neighborhood, while others thanked officers for their progress in regards to prostitution on Capp Street.
Since January, overall crime in the Mission is down but arrests are up, said Moser. During the last reporting period, police made 66 percent more arrests than in the prior one, increasing the overall arrests for this year by 55 percent over the same time a year ago.
Moser attributes the number of arrests to the presence of more officers on the street. Eight police recruits were assigned to Mission Station at the beginning of the year, which has put more eyes on the street. The station is working to target specific areas of the Mission that have experienced repeated criminal activity, such as Capp Street and Garfield Park, Moser said.
In some cases, the station has also benefited from additional outside resources, he said.
Detectives are still searching for suspects involved in two recent attacks against women. The incidents occurred within several blocks of each other.
On Jan. 6 at 2:40 a.m., an unidentified man threw a 31-year-old San Francisco woman to the pavement near the corner of 23rd and Church streets and slammed her head into the sidewalk. The woman screamed and was heard by a neighbor, who yelled at the man. The suspect then ran off toward Valencia Street.
The second attack occurred at 1 a.m. Feb. 2 on Bartlett Street between 22nd and 23rd streets. As the victim walked past the male suspect, he punched her several times, then fled.
Police believe the incidents may be related, Moser said, because the descriptions of the suspects and their actions in the two cases are similar. Neither case seems motivated by sexual assault or robbery, police said.
Sketches of the suspects in each attack were lined up on a table at the back of the room on Tuesday.
“These attacks on women are different,” said Tato Torres, a longtime Mission resident. “They are just vicious. They are not engaging with the women. It’s people who are just preying on women.”
Torres attended Tuesday’s meeting to make sure that police are alerting women about this potential threat in the neighborhood. He doesn’t want to see any more women attacked, he said.
“Women need to know that they need to be careful while walking in this corridor.”
In both cases, the suspect is Asian or Hispanic, around 25 years old, 160 pounds and 5 feet 10 inches tall, with a buzz haircut and slight beard growth.
The two incidents occurred within a two-month time period, Moser said, and the nature of the attacks is an obvious concern.
Violent crimes such as robberies and aggravated assaults were up 9 percent for the last reporting period, Moser said, while property crimes increased 28 percent. Those figures still trail last year’s numbers, he said.
Police are also making more arrests in connection with prostitution — 50 arrests in 25 days, Moser said.
Lastly, Moser praised the work of officers John Cathey and David Sands, who were honored recently with the Heroes and Hearts Award from San Francisco General Hospital for their work helping steer teenagers away from gangs.
“They identified people ready to change their lives around and then gave them the tools to make that happen,” Moser said. “It’s a real honor for them and we’re lucky to have them at Mission Station.”