Autos have caused more deaths in the Mission District this year than guns, the new captain of the Mission District Station said at his first monthly community meeting.
So far this year there have been five homicides in the Mission District, compared to 10 deaths from accidents that involved an auto, said Capt. Daniel Perea, a 23-year veteran of the San Francisco Police Department who assumed the leadership of the Mission District station on March 1.
“We want people to understand and be aware in this community that we are focused on traffic safety,” Perea said. “The risk is too high, and everyone has to be responsible.”
Traffic safety impacts the Mission District disproportionately — the Mission is second only to the Bayview in issuing citations, according to Perea.
Perea was the commander of forensic services before taking over the Mission District from Capt. Robert Moser who had been in the post since January 2012.
Moser will remain at the Mission Station as the commander of investigations.
Capt. Perea said that certain intersections — Castro and Market as well as South Van Ness and 14th Street — have had numerous red light violations and pedestrian right-of-way collisions.
“We have alerted officers to these locations for concentrated police focus,” he said.
In introducing himself to residents attending the community meeting, Perea said that he attended school in the Castro as a child, and worked in the district in the 1990s. He stressed outreach and a strong community presence as principle goals.
In other news on crime trends, Capt. Perea noted that aggravated assaults are down 19 percent since last year, and while robberies are down, burglaries jumped 26 percent compared to the same period last year.
Perea said that in looking at theft and burglary reports it is clear that brief moments of inattention by the victim, is “all it takes” for someone to be robbed.
The more than a dozen residents attending the meeting on the last Tuesday of March were mostly concerned with issues impacting their blocks. Some complained about disturbances and problems that spill over from nightclubs and bars and others wanted some resolution of what they described as homeless encampments in Franklin Square.
One attendee interjected several times during the meeting to complain about what he perceived as the negative impact of the “tech presence,” calling the “18th Street corridor…a retarded pointless joke.”
“…they’re coming in here — there’s nothing we can do,” Officer Keith said. “All we can do is try to regulate where they’re going.”
While there was no mention of a concrete numerical rise in homeless and loiterers in these areas, the group’s sense of influx was attributed to the sit-lie-legislation and sweeps of Golden Gate Park and similarly impacted areas. Those developments push the homeless population to areas with a less predictable police presence, he said.
One woman, until then sitting silently near the back, asked, “What are you going to do to get these people off drugs? How are you going to help them?”
That is a big issue, Captain Perea said.