The vandals of Dolores Park and Potrero Del Sol have gained a new powerful enemy: Mayor Ed Lee.
Today, during the mayor’s question time at the Board of Supervisors meeting, Lee promised to take steps to curb the vandalism that has hit city parks recently.
The Helen Diller playground at Dolores Park, for example, was vandalized just days after opening in April. Vandals marked the playground with graffiti and removed six of the 14 metal keys from the xylophone, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
“Crimes of vandalism and graffiti are an assault on our public resources,” Lee said. “It’s shameful.”
Here is how the mayor promised to curb the vandalism:
* The Parks and Recreation Department is working with food vendors and bicycle rental companies to offer “happy park uses.”
* The San Francisco Police Department will hire nine park patrol officers (citywide.)
* The police chief will tell his officers to enforce property crimes.
* “Once arrested, [the DA] will work to prosecute these criminals to the full extent of the law,” Lee said.
* Work with judges who dismiss vandalism cases and educate them on the importance of prosecution. “I see far too many [cases] dismissed,” he said.
* A graffiti specialist is currently developing leads to apprehend the vandals.
District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener, whose district includes Dolores Park, was the person who took the issue to the mayor.
“It is baffling to me that in many cases, the Police Department and our District Attorney know who the perpetrators are, but yet are reluctant to press charges. This is unacceptable to me,” Wiener wrote to the Mayor prior to Tuesday’s meeting.
For his part, the district attorney cannot prosecute unless there is sufficient evidence, said Stephanie Ong Stillman, a spokeswoman for the District Attorney’s office.
“We share the community’s frustration about the graffiti situation at Dolores Park. As in any criminal case, we need to have enough evidence in order to make a charging decision,” Stillman said. “We look forward to prosecuting this case if there is enough evidence gathered to determine who is responsible for the graffiti.”