Faced with a variety of concerns from residents, including more homeless encampments and public drunkenness, the Mission police station’s new captain, Robert Moser, had two suggestions at his first community meeting Tuesday night: Talk to police, and use the station’s website.

“There’s a lot of different ways to connect with the community,” Moser said. “The website is a fantastic tool to keep the community informed.” With the help of Officer Matthew Friedman, the captain added, the station recently started tweeting and writing a blog.

Before addressing the crowd of roughly 30 people, Moser stood quietly while departing Captain Greg Corrales thanked the community. Then the 17-year veteran, a former lieutenant at the Bayview police station, got down to business.

Moser, who was born at St. Luke’s Hospital on Cesar Chavez and went to school in Noe Valley, said he’s excited about coming back to the neighborhood. His father graduated from Mission High, and he remembers walking to his grandmother’s house on 20th and Capp as a child.

“I’m in the district on a personal level as well as a professional level,” Moser said.

His first priorities as captain are communicating with the community and getting residents involved in reporting issues. One of the first things on his to-do list is establishing a liaison within the station to be a contact for community groups.

Moser said that since he started on Jan. 17, he has patrolled with officers in the Castro and gone on a ride with his gang task force on 24th Street. He plans to go out on more beats, he said.

Like others before him, Moser wants to make residents “good reporters” of crime. “If you see any kind of suspicious activity, please call us.”

Such a call, he suggested, might have stopped the vandalism that occurred at Dolores Park last weekend when someone damaged equipment, tagged the clubhouse walls and ripped out some plants.

When community members talked about quality-of-life issues, including the increasing number of homeless encampments and public drunkenness, Moser suggested they go online and use Mission Reach, an online form that allows residents to submit complaints.

For others, such as a woman living at Valencia Gardens who reported that people have burglarized her apartment numerous times, Moser suggested taking the conversation “offline,” meaning to speak with him after the meeting.

Moser said that bicycle thefts have become a focus as their prices have risen to as much as or more than a used car, making them attractive commodities for resale. Someone recently reported the theft of a $9,000 road bicycle, he said.

To help, the station recently started posting pictures of stolen bikes. People who are considering buying a used bike, online or from someone in the neighborhood, can check first to see if it is listed as stolen.

Moser reminded people to keep their bikes in their apartments or lock them inside shared garages.

According to the captain, the latest Mission crime statistics are good. From Dec. 25 to Jan. 21, violent crimes have gone down 36 percent compared to November, and property crimes are down 25 percent.

As the captain addressed concerns at the meeting, most residents seemed pleased with his approach to problem-solving.

“I’m glad you’re here, I know you’re going to do well,” a resident told him.

When asked about his style, Moser said he’s not as creative as Corrales, who was known to use humor when writing his crime summaries. “I’m more of a stick-to-the-facts kind of guy,” he said.

Hélène Goupil

Hélène Goupil is an editor at Mission Local and a lecturer at U.C. Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism. She's the co-author of "San Francisco: The Unknown City." In 2008, she helped start Mission...

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    1. Thanks for pointing that out, I forgot to do that but have now added it. Helene

  1. I wish Captain Moser well at his new post.

    I’m happy to be seeing officers walking and especially on bicycle (best balance of mobility, observation, and quietly approaching shady actors), and hope to see more of this “on the ground” approach versus driving around in cars…

    An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of after-the-crime report taking.

    I’d love to see the police be more a part of the community rather than the usual clubby us/them paradigm; and being out and about (slowly but surely) makes it happen.

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